|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||August 7, 2013|
|Contact:||Sharon Mader, Grand Teton Program Manager, National Parks Conservation Association,(o) 307-733-4680, (c) 307-690-5245, firstname.lastname@example.org|
Parks Group Lauds Interior Department Decision to Protect Parcels Inside Grand Teton National Park
Secretary Jewell Commits to Provide Permanent Protection for Threatened Park Lands
STATEMENT BY: Sharon Mader, Grand Teton Program Manager
JACKSON, Wyo. — Today, U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Sally Jewell announced her agency’s commitment to fulfill an agreement with Wyoming to negotiate the purchase of the remaining 1,280 acres of state lands within Grand Teton National Park and transfer ownership to the National Park Service. This move insures that these lands will not be sold at public auction, likely resulting in residential homes and commercial development inside the park in areas currently home to bison, elk, moose, deer, bears, wolves, and pronghorn.
“We are thrilled that Secretary Jewell has committed to making the Grand Teton lands purchase a reality, and demonstrating strong conservation leadership to fulfill the agreement made by her predecessor, Secretary Ken Salazar. Protecting these critical lands is fundamental to passing Grand Teton National Park down to future generations intact, and the exchange has been a top priority of NPCA’s for the past 5 five years.
“In a recent press release, Secretary Jewell said, ‘creativity and flexibility will be required, but I am absolutely committed to see this cross the finish line.’ NPCA celebrates this announcement, and the tenacious efforts by DOI and the Wyoming government to work towards making this vision a reality. Once completed, this agreement will represent a win-win for the American public and the people of Wyoming. It will likely be a heavy lift to secure the remaining $91 million needed through a cash deal or land exchange and it will likely require all the tools in the toolbox to do so. We applaud Sec. Jewell for her leadership and commitment to do what it takes to preserve the scenic park landscape and spectacular wildlife that attracts visitors from around the country and across the globe.
“Since the agreement was signed, the federal government met two of the four deadlines. NPCA helped to secure $16 million through Land and Water Conservation Funds to preserve the first 86 acres of state lands along the Snake River in early January. This payment was essential to preserve the agreement, and was accomplished against all odds, and during the most contentious congressional fiscal debate that has been witnessed in years.”