Completed $23 million campaign to permanently protect land in the heart of Grand Teton

Aerial photo looking north toward the Antelope Flats parcel. Photo by Ryan Sheets.

On December 12, Grand Teton National Park increased in size by 640 acres AND Wyoming’s Permanent School Trust Fund received a $46 million deposit. In partnership with the DC-based National Park Foundation, we have completed our $23 million fundraising campaign to match $23 million in federal funds to purchase the Antelope Flats parcel for conservation in Grand Teton.

The federal real estate closing held on Monday, December 12th paid Wyoming $46 million in cash for the school trust land on Antelope Flats. The sale’s proceeds benefit the Permanent School Trust Fund which helps pay for public education costs in Wyoming.

This achievement is the result of decades of leadership and cooperation between the state and federal governments, supportive efforts from several conservation organizations, and thousands of individual and foundation donors who contributed private funds to allow the federal government to purchase the Antelope Flats parcel for inclusion in Grand Teton National Park. The parcel provides vital habitat for many species of wildlife and lies in the path of a primary migration route for pronghorn, bison, and the largest elk herd in the world. The parcel is also integral to iconic views of the Jackson Hole valley and the Teton mountain range.

Earlier this year, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis made the Antelope Flats acquisition their highest land protection priority and began working to secure $23 million from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. At the same time, Grand Teton National Park Foundation and Washington DC-based National Park Foundation began a joint campaign to raise $23 million in matching funds from private sources to acquire the $46 million parcel, a sale price set by appraisal. The State of Wyoming’s authority to sell its lands within the park to the federal government expires at the end of the calendar year 2016, creating the need to quickly advance this public-private conservation solution.

Key conservation partners in this effort include the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation via Walmart’s Acres for America Program, Jackson Hole Land Trust, and The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming. Each provided funding for the purchase. John and Adrienne Mars, the Hamill Family Foundation, Knobloch Family Foundation, The Sage Foundation, Mark Headley and Christina Pehl, David and Peggy Sokol, and Rocky Mountain Power Foundation all made leadership gifts to this effort. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation is providing a program-related investment in the form of a bridge loan to support the use of multi-year pledge commitments provided by many donors.

On behalf of the GTNPF board and staff: We are in awe of the incredible generosity we have witnessed from thousands of people who love this park. Thank you for coming together to help purchase this land for Grand Teton National Park.

This parcel provides critical habitat for many species of wildlife in Grand Teton National Park. Photo by Henry Holdsworth.

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