With a changing of seasons and a gratefulness for the outdoors, the Payette Land Trust has found the energy to begin a new chapter in its history.

The Payette Land Trust, founded in 1993, is a volunteer non-profit run by its volunteer Board of Directors. Their mission is to protect and preserve open space in and around Valley County. Open space can be used by wildlife, recreationists, farmers, loggers, and is the keystone of the area’s unique beauty. In the protection of all of this, the Payette Land Trust exists.

PLT found support and popularity during the boom in development that happened in the early 2000s around the excitement of the development of Tamarack. It helped to ease the fear of local citizens that development would lead to unsightly and wildlife-choking sprawl. It also gave landowners an opportunity to protect their land by establishing certain protections while realizing tax breaks. During that time, the PLT in partnership with landowners brought approximately 3000  acres under various forms of protection.

The financial recession created a lull for all sorts of businesses and real estate in particular. The PLT saw a similar lull in activity and a decrease in community awareness and interest during this time.

The market is improving again though and we’re seeing more and more development activity. The growth of McCall and the surrounding area is exciting. And yet, we are hearing the concern of residents that development will distort the soul and pristine nature of this area. The Payette Land Trust believes that if we work together we can protect what’s important while still allowing the appropriate growth of this area.

So, with the leadership of Rick Fereday, President of the Board of Directors, the organization is experiencing a rebirth. It begins with new campaigns, fundraising events, and a new website.  “The life force of this organization is the community and their dreams for the land,” says Chase Nelson, who has volunteered his time to consult on marketing and developing their new website. “They depend on the interest, skills, and beliefs of the locals to dictate a good direction and move forward. To me, being able to affect the future of my community is the benefit of living in a place like this. It’s also a responsibility.”

Rick encourages people to learn more about the organization on their website and reach out directly to share their ideas about the right ways to preserve open space in McCall or to volunteer their skills and time as the organization expands its efforts this summer.