|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||December 8, 2010|
|Contact:||SHARON MADER, GRAND TETONS PROGRAM MANAGER National Parks Conservation Association (307) 733-4680|
Successful Land Exchange Moves Forward to Preserve Grand Teton National Park
Washington, D.C.—The dramatic landscapes and unspoiled beauty of the Grand Teton National Park received a major boost toward their preservation today thanks to a land purchase agreement between Wyoming and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI).
At risk were approximately 1400 acres of state-owned lands that lay within the park's border. This spring, the state had threatened to sell these parcels on the open market likely resulting in the development of private luxury homes within the park. The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been a strong advocate for a positive resolution to this issue and applauds the work done between Wyoming and the federal government in protecting Grand Teton and preserving the integrity of the park as a national treasure for the American people.
“The loss of this acreage to subdivision would have dramatically changed the the park, and threatened not only the beauty of this area, but also native wildlife,” said NPCA Program Manager Sharon Mader. “These particular parcels are within the ‘path of the pronghorn’, a migration route that Grand Teton’s pronghorn have followed out of the park to wintering grounds for millennia. Also included in these parcels are critical summer feeding grounds for bison and pronghorn herds. Any development would greatly impact these animals and the overall wildlife habitat provided by these lands.”
With this agreement in place, the DOI will take ownership of these parcels of land over the next 10 years, filling in major gaps and helping to complete the park by ensuring protection of these significant blocks of state lands, randomly located across the park. While signing the agreement is a significant step, it must now be approved by both the Wyoming legislature and money will need to be appropriated by the U.S. Congress to complete the deal. NPCA urges our lawmakers at both the state and federal levels to show the same leadership that Governor Freudenthal and the DOI officials have shown and act decisively to preserve this treasured national park for future generations to enjoy.