Although an agreement between the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the State is in the works, there is no time to waste. The State has said they will put these lands on the auction block if a deal is not reached by Labor Day! If an agreement is not reached, and the land is auctioned to the highest bidder, Grand Teton National Park will be forever diminished. Instead of visitors seeing bison and pronghorn as they take in Grand Teton's scenic landscape, they will be faced with a landscape dotted with trophy homes.
Now that Wyoming Governor Freudenthal has given the federal government this ultimatum, it is critical that the DOI reach an agreement with the State on a plan that safeguards Grand Teton National Park. A swap to preserve these lands could include a cash settlement, an exchange for mineral royalties, or an outright land exchange. Given the sky-high cost of land in Jackson Hole, an outright cash deal will have too high a price tag, and any satisfactory deal will likely include a combination of all three. In 2005, an attempt was made to negotiate a swap of state-owned lands in the park, but talks stalled when the Interior Department and the State of Wyoming failed to agree upon what would constitute a fair exchange.
It is imperative that the DOI make this swap a top priority. We also need Wyoming's Senator Barrasso and Representative Lummis to take a strong leadership role in supporting efforts to save these park lands. Without decisive action, the American people will lose this rare opportunity to complete Grand Teton National Park by removing these threatened lands from destructive and irreversible development and preserving them as a rightful part of the park for future generations to enjoy.
Take Action: Contact Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and let him know how important the continued protection of all lands within Grand Teton National Park is to you. Urge him to make sure his agency works quickly to reach an acceptable agreement with the State of Wyoming. Congress will also have an important role to play in authorizing this agreement. Contact your members of Congress and urge them to take action by urging the Wyoming delegation to make this important effort to preserve Grand Teton National Park their top priority.
Thank you for continuing to support NPCA in our efforts to protect national parks at risk. Your action today will ensure that tomorrow's generations will enjoy a more scenic and better protected Grand Teton National Park!