BLM to reevaluate land acquisition in Natrona and Carbon counties
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is having to backtrack on a land acquisition in Natrona and Carbon counties that was announced in May.
The state of Wyoming filed an appeal in June saying that the agency did not involve the public and that the environmental assessment was not adequate. Some of the concerns include how the recreational setting and fishery would be impacted.
“This action is not about limiting access for sportspeople or challenging the rights of private property owners rights,” Governor Mark Gordon said in a June press release. “It is about whether the Federal government can increase its land holdings without public scrutiny, or should it adhere to the same transparent process that private landowners are subject to if they sought to purchase or exchange federal land.”
The land in question is 35,670 acres of the Marton Ranch near Casper, along the North Platte River. It is considered a coveted wildlife corridor and a premiere fly-fishing destination.
Dan Schlager, is the Wyoming state director of The Conservation Fund, which helped purchase the land and transfer it to the BLM. In a previous interview, he said making the area public would open up other nearby public land that was previously land locked by private property.
“It's kind of frustrating both ways that for people who love public lands, that can't get to those public lands, and they're owned by the public. And for private landowners, there's been a lot of trespassing on their lands and trying to figure all that out,” Schlager said. “So the ownership itself should really help on both sides of that, in that you do not have the two crossing back and forth and causing frustration.”
The BLM has agreed to reevaluate the acquisition and provide public comment opportunities, as well as supplement the environmental analysis.