Hundreds attend wildlife conservation event in Island Park

Guests enjoying BBQ steak and dutch oven chicken dinner. | Photo by Jean Bjerke

ISLAND PARK – Two hundred members and guests celebrated Henry’s Fork Wildlife Alliance’s first big event since the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday night at Meadow Vue Ranch in Island Park. It was a wildlife-themed, family-friendly event open to the entire community. 

The event brought together more than a dozen conservation organizations and representatives from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Forest Service for displays and presentations about wildlife.

Presenting organizations included Teton Regional Land Trust, Friends of Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Idaho Wildlife Federation, Friends of Camas National Wildlife Refuge, National Parks Conservation Association, Terry Thomas (Nature-Track), Penny Walbom, The Nature Conservancy, Henrys Lake Foundation, Island Park Sustainable Fire Community, Idaho Master Naturalists, Centennial Valley Association, and Idaho Environmental Education Association.

Caitlyn Wanner, Project Coordinator for HFWA, said the purpose of the event was to engage the community in celebrating and learning about wildlife and understanding what will enable us to protect and conserve the native wildlife of the Upper Henrys Fork Watershed. 

She said she hopes the event also helped the public get better acquainted with local citizen conservation groups and agencies like Fish and Game and the Forest Service.

People tried their skills with inert bear spray on Idaho Fish and Game’s mechanical charging bear and participated in interactive activities offered by more than a dozen conservation and education organizations. 

The festive atmosphere was enhanced by the outdoor BBQ steak and dutch oven chicken dinner provided by Meadow Vue Ranch, live western music by the Fall River Boys, and lawn games, a silent auction and raffle. A storm hit at 7 p.m. but the group had moved their timeline up to try to avoid a downpour, and it didn’t impact the celebration.

HFWA’s mission is to protect and conserve the native wildlife and its enjoyment by the public in the Upper Henrys Fork Watershed. The group is the only citizens organization devoted solely to protecting healthy wildlife populations in the Upper Henrys Fork.

Grizzly bear display by Idaho Fish and Game. | Photo by Tracy River