Idaho residents recognized for lifetime of wetlands conservation work

Sam and Aline Skagg's award was accepted by their children, Mark and Mindy Skaggs. (LtoR) DU Chief Conservation Officer Nick Wiley, Mark Skaggs, Mindy Skaggs, DU CEO Dale Hall.

Ducks Unlimited announced the winners of the 2018 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards during the 83rd North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference recently held in Norfolk, Virginia. This year’s recipient in the local/private category was Sam and Aline Skaggs, whose lifetime of incredible generosity led to the conservation of more than 2,500 acres of high-value habitat within Idaho’s Snake River watershed.

“Sam and Aline Skaggs’ legacy of waterfowl and wetlands conservation in Idaho is truly outstanding and serves as a model for future generations of conservationists who share their passion,” said Chris Bonsignore, DU’s manager of conservation programs for Idaho. “While they are no longer with us, recognition of their efforts through the DU Wetland Conservation Achievement Award is a fitting tribute to these truly amazing people.”

Sam Skaggs Jr. was a World War II veteran and part of the Normandy invasion, landing at Utah Beach on D-Day. He and his wife, Aline, raised a family and built a small chain of stores into a retailing giant. Their respect and love for wildlife led to considerable contributions to conservation over several decades. Sam served on the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources board of directors for six years.

In the 1950s, Sam and Aline began purchasing land near the Snake River in southern Idaho.The ranch grew to over 19,000 acres, including several miles of Marsh Creek, and the family managed the property for farming, ranching, and wildlife habitat. Over a period of about 15 years, they invested $2 million of their own funds to make improvements that resulted in substantial benefits to wetlands, waterfowl, and water quality. Through their personal donations and those made by their private family foundation, Sam and Aline have generously donated over $3 million to the conservation of waterfowl and wetlands across Idaho. Their legacy of conservation lives on through the ALSAM Foundation and their 4 children and 16 grandchildren.

Ducks Unlimited’s Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards are presented annually in six categories to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the conservation and restoration of North America’s wetlands and waterfowl. To view a complete list of the 2018 Wetland Conservation Achievement Award winners, visit here.