Wyoming State House Moves Land Deal Forward, Helping to Protect Grand Tetons from Inappropriate Development

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   February 7, 2011
Contact:   SHARON MADER, GRAND TETONS PROGRAM MANAGER National Parks Conservation Association (307) 733-4680


Wyoming State House Moves Land Deal Forward, Helping to Protect Grand Tetons from Inappropriate Development

Washington, D.C. —The members of the Wyoming House of Representatives came to the rescue of the dramatic landscapes and unspoiled beauty of the Grand Tetons National Park Friday by voting to move forward with a land purchase between the state and U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI). The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been a strong advocate for a positive resolution to this issue and applauds this action by the Wyoming House of Representatives to protect an approximately 1,400 acre parcel, which is completely surrounded by the park, from being subdivided into lots and permanently degrading the natural beauty that millions of people come to the park to see each year.

“The members of the Wyoming House who supported this legislation have done much more than simply approved the sale of a piece of property,” said NPCA Program Manager Sharon Mader. “They have acted to preserve the heritage and fortify the future of this state, which they obviously dearly love and proudly serve. This land deal is great news for everyone who cares about preserving our most enduring natural sites and landmarks, like the Grand Tetons. Thanks to this vote, our children and grandchildren will have a much better likelihood to be able to enjoy the same majestic vistas that have awed and inspired many generations.”

The DOI acquisition of this land, which is part of Wyoming’s school lands trust, removes the largest block of acreage from the threat of a public sale and private home development within Grand Teton National Park. The legislation now goes to the Wyoming State Senate for their approval and, if it is successful there, it will then go to Governor Matt Mead for his signature. In addition, Congress will have approve the funding for the purchase of the land.

Grand Teton National Park has managed to remain relatively undeveloped, with few non-federally owned parcels inside the park’s boundaries and a strong track record of successfully preventing further development on existing inholdings. The loss of this acreage to private ownership would have changed the overall nature of the park, and threatened not only the beauty of this area, but also native wildlife. Included in these parcels are wide stretches of land that have long served as summer feeding grounds for bison and pronghorn herds and preserve important migration routes into the park. Any development would greatly impact these animals and the overall wildlife habitat provided by these lands.

“Once this agreement is in place, the DOI will take ownership of these parcels of land over the next 10 years, filling in major gaps in the park,” Mader added. “For years the park has been faced with the threat of private land development, on state lands and other unprotected private lands randomly located across the park.”

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