Deal Reached To Keep Land Inside Grand Teton National Park From Development

Dec 13, 2016

Credit Rebecca Huntington / Wyoming Public Radio

The State of Wyoming has reached agreement with the U.S. Department of Interior over the sale of a 640 acre parcel of Wyoming school trust land located inside of Grand Teton National Park.

The Grand Teton National Park Foundation, the National Park Foundation, and the Department of Interior purchased the land for $46 million as a way to keep it from being developed. State Lands Director Bridget Hill says there was legal pressure on the state lands board to find another buyer if the sale had fallen through, because the board is required to get maximum value of those lands for Wyoming education.

“Generally when you think about the high value of those lands, it would have to be something like sell it at public auction, or commercially develop it. When because they’re inside the National Park, as Wyoming citizens and recognizing how important that park is to us, it created this pull a little bit not to do it, but they have a constitutional duty to do it.”

Governor Matt Mead said the sale should generate a million dollars for Wyoming education annually.

Sharon Mader of the National Parks Conservation Association said, “protecting these lands in perpetuity represents a victory for landscape conservation, for scenery and wildlife habitat preservation and for the continued enjoyment of Grand Teton National Park’s visitors.”

It’s the second of three tracts of state land located within park boundaries that has been sold to the federal government. One piece of land in Kelly remains to be sold.