Mark and Delia Owens, zoologists and conservationists, spent 23 years in Africa living with and studying endangered species. They have authored best selling books and have been the subject of articles in respected publications such as The New Yorker, Life, and Sports Illustrated to name just a few. After searching for a stateside locale in which to settle, they decided on North Idaho. They have spent over 20 years at their current residence, Thunder Mountain Wildlife Estate, in Moyie Springs, creating a 720-acre wildlife sanctuary.
“Our home is nestled in the forest at the edge of a restored marsh, which is part of more than a square mile of our own private nature preserve in the Curley Creek Valley near Moyie Springs, Idaho,” says the Owenses. “Just across the meadow and marsh east of our home the Purcell Mountains rear up along the Idaho/Montana border.”
“Before beginning construction, we spent three years collecting more than 250 tons of rocks from our property and from the Yaak River Valley seven miles farther east across the mountains. We used these to build our five fireplaces and the walls of our dining room.”
“We also deconstructed two 80 year old barns and recycles nearly all of the wood in the construction of the door and window frames, the posts and beams in the kitchen and under the catwalk, in the bathroom vanities and in the kitchen cabinets under the granite island. Mark also milled a large spruce log for the living room fireplace mantle, which took nine men to hang, while the other four fireplace mantles are made of barn beams.”
“One of the greatest joys of living here for the past 20 years has been the utter quiet and lack of artificial light from any direction. We can sit in our hot tub at night and know that we will only see star and moonlight, and hear the sounds of Nature, including the rasping cries of juvenile Great Horned Owls waiting to be fed; the howls of wolves, and the yips and yaps of coyotes. It has been a grand consolation for us after having given up our beloved Africa, where we lived for 23 years in isolated splendor among wild animals who had never before seen humankind.”