Kelly Parcel sale is in the final budget, but Gov. Gordon still needs to sign it

The Wyoming Legislature's newly-passed budget authorizes the sale of the Kelly Parcel to the federal government for $100 million. But it comes with a big asterisk.
The Kelly Parcel is a square mile lot adjacent to Grand Teton National Park and national forest land. It's owned by the state, and all profits from the land are supposed to go to Wyoming public schools. (Hanna Merzbach/KHOL)

Wyoming is closer than ever to selling the Kelly Parcel to Grand Teton National Park for not less than $100 million.

But it comes with a big catch. 

The Legislature sent a budget bill to Gov. Mark Gordon’s desk last week that contained a measure authorizing the sale of the 640-acre lot.

In order to approve the Kelly Parcel deal, the governor will first need to make sure the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) doesn’t pick ‘alternative B’ for managing public lands in southwest Wyoming, which relates to rights-of-way restrictions.

Advertisement

The BLM’s more conservation-focused plan for the Rock Springs area drew outrage from Wyomingites this past fall who felt it was an overreach.

Rep. Bob Nicholas (R-Laramie) added the amendment tying the two controversial land management issues together.

Sen. Mike Gierau (D-Jackson) is the author of the Kelly Parcel sale amendment. He said he’s still excited that the deal is still an option.

“By putting more constrictions (on the sale), it could hurt, not help,” said Gierau. “But we’ll work with it.” 

The view of the Tetons from the Kelly Parcel on a sunny November day. The land is surrounded by Grand Teton National Park, national forest and the elk refuge. (Hanna Merzbach/KHOL)

The view of the Tetons from the Kelly Parcel on a sunny November day. The land is surrounded by Grand Teton National Park, national forest and the elk refuge. (Hanna Merzbach/KHOL)

The Kelly Parcel is a critical wildlife corridor adjacent to Grand Teton National Park. State officials proposed putting it up for auction to the open market last fall. But they backtracked after sparking mass opposition from conservationists across the state who wanted to see it joined with the national park. This left it open for the legislature to try and reach a solution.

Now, philanthropic partners of the park, such as the Grand Teton National Park Foundation, will be on the hook to raise part of the sum that the federal government cannot.

If the governor doesn’t line-item veto the amendment in the next few days, those partners will have two years to make it happen.

The BLM is expected to come out with a final plan for Rock Springs this coming spring. 

This reporting was made possible by a grant from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, supporting state government coverage in the state. Wyoming Public Media and Jackson Hole Community Radio are partnering to cover state issues both on air and online.

Want More Stories Like This?

Donate any amount to support independent media in the Tetons.

KHOL 89.1 Jackson Hole Community Radio Membership Support Ad

About Chris Clements

Related Stories

The role of wolves in Wyoming

The role of wolves in Wyoming

A chat with KHOL’s Emily Cohen and WyoFile’s Mike Koshmrl about the death — and alleged abuse — of a wolf south of Jackson.

Pin It on Pinterest