WASHINGTON -- Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Tom Strickland commended the Wyoming Board of Land Commissioners for approving an agreement to convey approximately 1,400 acres of state-owned land within Grand Teton National Park to the department in exchange for an appraised value of approximately $107 million.
“By entering into this agreement, Wyoming is ensuring the conservation of these lands as part of Grand Teton National Park while providing revenue to support state school systems,” Strickland said. “This is an agreement in which everyone -- the park, the state, and the citizens of Wyoming -- comes out ahead.”
Wyoming has owned the lands within the park since 1890 when it gained statehood and the federal government granted it lands to be held in trust to provide revenue for its schools. Approximately 1,366 acres of these school trust lands were subsequently included as inholdings within the boundaries of Grand Teton National Park when the park was established in 1950. In addition, the State of Wyoming also holds title to 40 acres of subsurface mineral rights within the park.
The state-owned land within the park has not generated much income for the schools, and Congress passed legislation in 2003 to allow the department to enter into a land conveyance agreement with the state.
The completion of the land acquisition is contingent upon congressional appropriations and possible additional authorizing legislation.