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The BLM announces largest land purchase in Wyoming after fixing some missteps 

Part of the Marton Ranch near Casper.
A section of the Marton Ranch near Casper.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is making its largest land acquisition in Wyoming history, just outside of Casper, reaffirming the decision it made last year.

The BLM first acquired the 35,670-acre Marton Ranch a little over a year ago. But, the state of Wyoming filed an appeal, which required the agency to seek public comment and complete an additional environmental review.

During the new public comment period this spring, the BLM received 351 replies, ranging from support for the deal to concern about the local fishery. The acquisition will give public access to 8.8 miles of premier trout fishing on the North Platte River. The environmental analysis did show there will likely be an added stress to the fishery.

“This could result in increased and/or prolonged fishing pressure in reaches of the North Platte River that had previously been legally inaccessible to anchoring and wade fishing by the public,” according to the report.

The BLM said signage will be posted to educate users about how to best avoid stress to the fishery. But otherwise, the agency largely found that there will be no significant impact to the land through the acquisition.

The BLM will consider the comments and local government opinions when they determine how to specifically manage the land. That will be decided in the near future.

Governor Mark Gordon said in a statement that he is pleased with the land deal now that it has gone through the proper steps.

“Wyoming landowners have the right to make their own decisions about their property, even if it means selling it to the federal government,” Gordon said. “However, the federal government has the responsibility to see the process is fair and transparent.”

He added that he hopes future land deals with the BLM follow the proper process.

The Marton Ranch was purchased for $21 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the deal was overseen by the Conservation Fund, which is a private nonprofit. The deal will also open up an additional 40,000 acres of land-locked public land near Casper.

Caitlin Tan is the Energy and Natural Resources reporter based in Sublette County, Wyoming. Since graduating from the University of Wyoming in 2017, she’s reported on salmon in Alaska, folkways in Appalachia and helped produce 'All Things Considered' in Washington D.C. She formerly co-hosted the podcast ‘Inside Appalachia.' You can typically find her outside in the mountains with her two dogs.
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