Land purchase protects landscapes and beauty of park
“The dramatic landscapes and unspoiled beauty of the Grand Teton National Park received a major boost toward their preservation thanks to affirmative votes by the House and Senate of the Wyoming State Legislature to allow a land purchase agreement between Wyoming and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to move forward. This vote paves the way for the DOI to purchase the land and transfer ownership from the State to the federal government, ultimately preserving these lands that are an integral part of Grand Teton forever.
“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. NPCA has worked hard to ensure that these state school section lands were preserved, while also fairly compensating the State of Wyoming for the full appraised market value to benefit our school system and children throughout the state. The loss of this acreage to subdivision would have dramatically altered the park, and threatened not only the scenic beauty and pristine nature of this area, but also harmed native wildlife. 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.
“Today’s final vote by the Wyoming House to waive the state’s public auction requirement will move the process on to the congressional arena where the DOI will need to secure Land and Water Conservation Fund appropriations from Congress to complete the $107 million dollar agreement to purchase the school trust lands from the State. To accomplish this next big step, we will look to the Wyoming Congressional delegation to take the lead by seeking congressional appropriations to seal the deal, and achieve what the National Park Service has said is one of its top national priorities for park land protection.
“NPCA acknowledges the work of the Gov. Mead and his staff, the state attorney general, the Wyoming State Land Board, the National Park Service and our Teton County legislators for supporting the bill. Their efforts will provide an enduring legacy for the people of Wyoming and all who cherish our national parks.”
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