Background

Map of parcelThe Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments (OSLI) is considering auctioning off 640 acres (1 square mile) of State Trust Land within Grand Teton National Park (GTNP), which could give Wyoming the dubious distinction of becoming the first state to ever auction off land inside a national park.

Since 2020 the Legislature has required OSLI to maximize revenue from state lands in Teton County.

But the value of the Kelly Parcel cannot be measured simply by the maximum amount it can draw at auction. The value also includes things we cannot put a price tag on, including:

  • its role in the larger ecosystem, notably as a migration corridor for elk and antelope and as habitat for numerous species;
  • accessibility to hunters, anglers, and other outdoor users;
  • and, most importantly, as a symbol that public land within our national parks cannot be sold off to the highest bidder.

The potential for auction began with the October “Notice of Proposed Disposal of State Trust Land in Teton County.”  Hearings are scheduled across the state in November, and written public comments are being accepted through 5 p.m. Dec. 1.

Nov. 9

Jackson, 5:30 pm, Teton County Library, 125 Virginian Ln., Jackson, WY 83001

Nov. 16

Casper, 5:30 pm, Thyra Thomson State Office Building, 444 W. Collins Dr., Casper, WY 82601, Round House Room

Nov. 21

Cheyenne, 5:00 pm, Laramie County Library, 2200 Pioneer Ave., Cheyenne, WY 82001,  Cottonwood Room (1st Floor)

Nov. 28

Cody, 5:30 pm, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Cody Field Office 2 Tilden Trail, Cody, WY 82414, Cody Field Office Public Meeting Room

Dec. 7

Hearing in Cheyenne where State Land Board will determine whether to go to auction

This is the latest — and most extreme — example of OSLI and the State Land Board disregarding Wyoming’s historic support for local control and prioritizing the Almighty Dollar over the value our public lands provide to wildlife, hunters, anglers, and other outdoor users.

If the auction proceeds, the Kelly Parcel will surely become another flagrant example of Wyoming valuing exploitation of the land over preservation and public access.

Consider:

  • This could be the first time any state has pursued auctioning off public land within the boundaries of a national park.
  • Earlier this year, the Land Board approved a controversial gas lease in the pinch point of a world-famous pronghorn migration path without the wildlife protections requested by two state agencies.
  • On the ‘390 Parcel’ alongside Teton Village Road, the Land Board approved construction of a ‘glamping’ resort over local objections. Gov. Mark Gordon now calls them ‘pimples on the landscape.’
  • And State Trust Lands near Munger Mountain, south of Wilson, or in other Wyoming communities could be the next target.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

The state has done the right thing before: In 2016, GTNP acquired a 640-acre parcel in Antelope Flats for $46 million through a joint effort with the Grand Teton National Park Foundation. This example of a public-private partnership shines as a victory for all parties involved. 

The best outcome for the Kelly Parcel would be for it to be sold to park service so it can be permanently protected within GTNP for generations to come. Such a move would require the Wyoming Legislature to come together around the common-sense idea of preserving public lands and to pass a bill to determine its value and ultimate buyer like it did eight years ago with Antelope Flats.

It is possible to stop the auction and to protect our Public Lands. But only if we speak up!

Tell the Wyoming Board of Land Commissioners to Stop the Auction and to give the Wyoming Legislature the opportunity to protect our Public Lands.

Timeline

1890

Federal government grants Wyo. school trust lands upon statehood

1923

Prominent Jackson Hole figures meet in Moose, Wyo., to map out plans for what would become Grand Teton National Park.

1929

Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) established

2003

GTNP Land Exchange Act authorizes federal acquisition of state trust lands by: donation; purchase with donated or appropriated funds; or exchange of federal lands in Wyoming

2010

State Land Board and Department of Interior (DOI) enter into Agreement for Conveyance of Interest in Lands, which included surface and mineral rights for 3 State Trust parcels within GTNP Boundary by Jan. 5, 2015.

2012

GTNP acquires Snake River Parcel

2014

State and DOI agree to work cooperatively on the transfer of Antelope Flats and Kelly parcels through 2016.

2016

GTNP acquires Antelope Flats Parcel for $46M

2016

Legislature fails to extend deadline for transfer of Kelly Parcel

2017

Legislature fails again to extend deadline for transfer of Kelly Parcel

2018

State Land Board Director places Kelly Parcel on “Disposal List”

2021

Legislature fails to grant direct conveyance authorization of Kelly Parcel

2022

Kelly Parcel assessed with value of $62.9M

2023

Office of State Lands and Investment announces “consideration for disposal at auction” of Kelly Parcel

Protect our public lands. Add your voice to those urging Wyoming officials to Stop the Auction of the Kelly Parcel