New BLM land acquisitions open up nearly 40,000 acres of public land


Photo credit: Bureau of Land Management

Over 40,000 acres of inaccessible public land will be accessible thanks to one of the largest land acquisitions to date. This past week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced its land deal for acreage acquired in Wyoming and Colorado, according to the Oil City News.

BLM worked with The Conservation Fund, which is a national nonprofit that supports the voluntary protection of public lands and waters, to purchase a 160-acre Escalante Creek Parcel in the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area in Colorado and 35,670 acres of private land from the Marton family in southwest of Casper, Wyoming, according the BLM-Colorado

“This acquisition marks a big step forward for improving public access,” said BLM High Plains District Manager Kevin Christensen. “Through our lasting partnership with The Conservation Fund, we have a unique opportunity to conserve crucial wildlife habitat at a landscape scale and expand access to the river and public land for our local community and visitors.”

Through the deal, the Marton family transferred the land to the agency for “permanent protection,” according to the Oil City News.

Money for the purchase of the acreage came from a grant from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in conjunction with The Conservation Fund as well as $21 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The property purchased is located east of Alcova Reservoir with 8.8 miles of the North Platte River along its northern border and Carbon County at its southern end.

Initially, BLM will manage the new acreage like it does other lands; however, there are plans to seek input from neighboring tribes as well as other agencies and the public as BLM works to “develop specific management policies for the area,” according to the Oil City News.

“Ensuring a conservation solution like this one requires not just an outstanding landscape, but outstanding private citizens and public servants to match it,” said Dan Schlager, Wyoming state director at The Conservation Fund. “Thanks to the truly exceptional land management and determination of the Marton family, and an unwavering problem-solving commitment from the BLM, this remarkable landscape will remain permanently conserved for the enjoyment of the entire Wyoming community.”

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