Thursday, March 30, 2023

Get to know Clagstone Meadows

by TJ ROSS/Contributing Writer
| March 16, 2023 1:00 AM

Clagstone Meadows, a well-known expanse of timberland in Bonner County, has been open to the public since 2017. Although the land is privately owned by Stimson Lumber Company, several partners worked with Stimson to permanently secure the land under a conservation easement that protects 13,169 acres of land in Clagstone Meadows and 1,266 acres in the Cape Horn area.

Since 2018 and as part of the conservation easement, invested partners have worked diligently to monitor the public’s use of the Clagstone Meadows property using registration cards (monitoring does not occur on the Cape Horn parcels). Below is a quick summary of what has been learned from 2018-22.

• Average visitation is 2.9 people per day, or over 1,000 visitors annually

• The majority of use each year occurs during October and November.

• Hunters are the most common user group of the property, most notably during October and November.

• General recreational use of the property peaks in April and May

• Most visitors enter the property through the north gate

• Over 90% of the users are Idaho residents

These metrics are important, as the intent of the conservation easement was to benefit local economies, wildlife, clean water and recreation.

This conservation easement protects working forests and supplies timber to the local saw mills, benefitting local economies. The properties provide important habitat for a variety of big game, small game and non-game species; land that is now preserved in perpetuity. The property sits above an important water recharge area for the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer, which provides drinking water for over 500,000 people. Lastly the property is being used by a variety of recreational users each year. Across the board, partners are very pleased with the success of Clagstone Meadows.

Non-motorized access to the Clagstone property is available through four access points with parking areas, known as “Gates.“ Clagstone Meadows maps and access rules can found at

A quick history lesson

Although the fate of Clagstone Meadows is now secure, this was not always the case. In 2010, a development plan for two golf courses and 1,200 homes was conditionally approved on the property. Thankfully, midway through the approval process, Stimson began evaluating alternatives, which prompted conversations about a conservation easement with Idaho Department of Lands, Idaho Fish and Game and the Trust for Public Land.

Through close collaboration, project partners and Stimson were able to successfully craft the conservation easement, resulting in maintaining over 14,000 acres of working forests from development, while providing over 10,000 acres of land being open to the public in perpetuity. Stimson and all project partners celebrated the conservation easement and the many benefits future generations would enjoy because of it.

Idaho Department of Lands Forest Legacy Program, Fish and Game and The Trust for Public Land raised $9.5 million to purchase the easement, which included federal funding from the Forest Legacy Program and Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act.

In conjunction with Stimson’s collaboration on the crafting of the conservation easement, it sold the easement at significantly less than full-market value — a conservation donation that will forever benefit the people of Idaho.

The Idaho Department of Lands administers Idaho’s Forest Legacy Program through the Forestry Assistance Bureau. To date, this program has successfully conserved approximately 102,000 acres of privately owned working forestland in Idaho. In addition, IDL manages more than 2.4 million acres of Idaho endowment lands, for the benefit of endowments, primarily public schools.

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a 10-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden or natural area and millions more visit these sites every year.

Stimson Lumber Company is one of the oldest privately held forest products companies in the U.S., with holdings in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

The U.S. Forest Service administers Forest Legacy at the national level and provides grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to states to protect environmentally and economically important forests.

Please contact the Panhandle Regional office at 208-769-1414 with any questions.

T.J. Ross is a regional communications manager for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

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