Wyoming Voices Support of Permanently Conserving the Kelly Parcel -GierauMike

Wyoming Voices Support of Permanently Conserving the Kelly Parcel

Wyoming Voices Support of Permanently Conserving the Kelly Parcel -GierauMike

Totaling 640 acres, the state-owned Kelly parcel is within the boundaries of Grand Teton National Park, provides sweeping views of the Teton Range, and includes critical habitat for numerous species of wildlife. The land is also located within a key migration corridor for pronghorn, elk, and mule deer. If the Kelly parcel is not permanently conserved as part of Grand Teton, this inholding could be developed in the future, risking the loss of vital habitat in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem—one of the last remaining, nearly intact temperate ecosystems on the planet.

In fall 2023, the Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments announced their intention to dispose of the Kelly parcel via a public auction in Teton County. A comment period inspired nearly 10,000 Wyoming citizens to share their viewpoint on the fate of this state school trust land, and the overwhelming majority expressed the desire to see the Kelly parcel protected as part of Grand Teton National Park. The State Land Board of Commissioners voted in December 2023 to table the auction and explore other options of conveying the land to the National Park Service (NPS). On January 18, 2024, Wyoming’s Joint Appropriations Committee passed a budget amendment that urged the State Board of Land Commissioners to sell the Kelly parcel for $100 million to the NPS. Grand Teton National Park is working to secure $62 million in federal funding, while Grand Teton National Park Foundation stands ready to raise $38 million by the end of 2024 to complete the purchase.

Wyoming’s leaders can act now, pass the budget during the current legislative session, and permanently protect the Kelly parcel by selling it to Grand Teton National Park—a win for Wyoming families, hunters, open space advocates, ranchers, and wildlife supporters.

Folks from across the state of Wyoming, including state legislators, sportsmen groups, former governors, and more have recently spoken in support of permanently conserving the state-owned Kelly parcel as part of Grand Teton National Park:

Wyoming Voices Support of Permanently Conserving the Kelly Parcel -GierauMike

“Today is a great day to make this decision because it's never too late to reaffirm who we are in Wyoming and why we're here and what this is all about. Having a place to recreate, having a place that's the crown jewel of the United States in our very state is a treasure for all of us. It's a treasure for America…it's a treasure for the world…I urge you to reaffirm America's greatest idea.”

- Wyoming Senator Mike Gireau

“A very popular presidential administration in the state of Wyoming passed something called the Great American Outdoor Act. And my understanding…is that there's $62 million plus available in the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and then a nonprofit is committed to raising the rest of it. That's how serious and significant that is. And I think that also asks or answers a question about why the urgency for this particular idea right now.”

- Wyoming Senator Affie Ellis

Wyoming Voices Support of Permanently Conserving the Kelly Parcel -EllisAffie
Wyoming Voices Support of Permanently Conserving the Kelly Parcel -NethercottTara

“Opportunities that we are presented with in our time here in this sacred building that we get to do something so powerful and so meaningful to place our most valued resource and asset that…is priceless. And we all agree with that. Our lands are the most priceless things we have in this state. Our stewardship of them is unsurpassed. You are presented with a unique opportunity to conserve these lands for the next hundreds of years. The people of Wyoming have spoken. I hope you have listened this last year. They have said they want this land conserved. They do not want it sold to the highest bidder.

$100 million, almost twice its actual appraised value. At a time when we desperately need money, when we know our severance tax revenues are decreasing as a result of the fossil fuel industry's decline, this is the time to strike. This is the time to respond to the people of this great state to recognize how we can preserve this asset in perpetuity in a way that we've never been presented with before.”

- Wyoming Senator Tara Nethercott

“Surrounded on three sides by Grand Teton National Park (GTNP), The Kelly Parcel sits on crucial elk winter range as well as a few elk migration paths and is centrally located and important to the northern portion of the path of the pronghorn. It is also located in a Wild and Scenic designated portion of the Gros Ventre watershed and is home to native Snake River cutthroat trout. This iconic parcel is a gateway to the National Park and the Bridger Teton National Forest, an area loved by Wyomingites and visitors alike.

We ask that the Wyoming Legislature authorize the Office of State Lands and Investments to generate a windfall for public education while conserving the parcel by conveying it to GTNP.”

- Wyoming Wildlife Federation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Muley Fanatic Foundation, Northwest States Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Wyoming Wildsheep Foundation, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Trout Unlimited, American Bear Foundation

Wyoming Voices Support of Permanently Conserving the Kelly Parcel
Board of Directors - Rob Wallace

“The wise decision by the land board to postpone action until late 2024 now gives the legislature time to enact a law authorizing a direct sale to the National Park Service, an outcome that would guarantee permanent protection for the property. The agency has been able to ‘earmark’ funds for the purchase of the Kelly parcel…But their window to act is also narrow. The National Park Service’s annual share of the LWCF is approximately $100 million. While that is certainly a lot of money, it’s intended to be spread on a competitive basis among 63 national parks and 365 affiliated national park units...Wyoming is fortunate that Grand Teton National Park is currently at the front of the line…Other suitors for LWCF funds will soon catch up, and Grand Teton’s ability to use such a sizable portion will diminish if not disappear altogether.

By acting now to secure a sale to Grand Teton National Park, our leaders will respect the overwhelming majority who want this land protected, while faithfully exercising their fiduciary responsibilities to public education. This would be a clear win for our children, a victory for our citizens, and a triumph for the park that we treasure.”

- Rob Wallace was the senior-most person from Wyoming to serve in the Trump Administration. He oversaw the National Park Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service as the assistant secretary of the Interior for fish and wildlife and parks.

“When the State Land Board opted for a public auction of a state-owned section in Grand Teton National Park, potentially opening the door to private development, the public reaction was swift and nearly unanimous -- “don’t do it!" Thousands of Wyomingites made their voices heard…The majesty of the mountains, lakes, open space and wildlife is unmatched. People knew trading the open space and the chance to see buffalo or other wildlife as we drive through the park in exchange for huge, overpriced houses for largely non-Wyoming citizens was a bad deal, now and for future generations.

We urge the legislature to recognize the commitment of the Park Service and the Grand Teton National Park Foundation and facilitate a sale to Grand Teton National Park. It is arguably a win-win proposition. Wyoming actually comes out ahead of the game – our values are preserved and more money is available, in perpetuity, to fund education.”

- Mike Sullivan (served as Wyoming's governor from 1987 – 1995) and Dave Freudenthal (served as Wyoming's governor from 2003 – 2011)

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