BLM Parcel 9/10

The Teton County/Jackson Parks and Recreation Department is hosting three open houses to discuss the future of a Bureau of Land Management parcel.

A second open house offers the public another chance to weigh in on the future of Bureau of Land Management land along the Snake River.

The Teton County/Jackson Parks and Recreation Department is interested in discussing and brainstorming how the 320 acres just north of Emily Stevens Park should be used, if and when they are transferred from BLM ownership to Teton County.

At the first open house, comments from the public included pleas to leave the riparian habitat in its current state or to add picnic shelters, pathways and trails. Now, Parks and Rec hopes to build on those preliminary ideas.

“The discussion and brainstorming will continue, but this time we’ll be attempting to further refine and prioritize potential concepts and plans for the two parcels,” Parks and Rec Director Steve Ashworth said.

The BLM has been working to transfer ownership of several isolated parcels along the Snake for years because the agency’s nearest office is all the way in Pinedale. The Snake River Fund spearheaded a working group to develop a 2008 transfer plan for managing the corridor, detailing conditions and recommendations for each of the 24 parcels.

Ten years after the approval of the plan, and months before it’s set to expire at the end of 2018, Teton County is looking to complete a “master plan” for the Wilson parcel and take over some of the land. Progress on the overall transfer process has been slow because each parcel requires its own, distinct plan before ownership can change hands.

The impending expiration of the Snake River Fund’s 2008 plan has given the process new urgency.

The county hopes to utilize the Recreation and Public Purposes Act to transfer the land from the federal agency, which means the land has to include some sort of recreational value, like trails or picnic tables. It’s the same process currently underway to transfer the BLM parcels that are home to the Wilson and South Park boat ramps to the county.

The open house is set for 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Old Wilson Schoolhouse. The third and final open house is scheduled to be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 10 and is expected to cover final, formalized site-development concepts.

The recommendations from the open houses will be forwarded to the Teton County Board of County Commissioners for review as it works to finalize a master plan for the property, which it will use to draft legislation for U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., to introduce to Congress to realize the transfers.

— Frederica Kolwey contributed to this report.

Contact Allie Gross at 732-7063, county@jhnewsandguide.com or @JHNGcounty.

Allie Gross covers Teton County government. Originally from the Chicago area, she joined the News&Guide in 2017 after studying politics and Spanish at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

(1) comment

Michael Hirsch

Greetings; As a resident of Park County and the state of Wyoming I feel that it is unusual not to have a comment period for people via the internet. The BLM lands that are being considered to transfer to Teton County is a bad idea. They should be transferred to the state of Wyoming and too Teton county for dual management. The land should never be further developed except for boat takeout points so the river channel can continue to change. This sits on the Snake River floodplain and any development will just be a waste of money in the future. Greed always takes over and the land would be sold in future years to real estate developers with big ideas. Make sure a clause states that the land cannot ever be sold or traded and must always be owed by the state or Teton County. Make sure that multiple use is the most important idea for these future lands that the BLM is wanting to get rid of. Just thoughts from a guy in Wyoming who has seen these lands transfers go terribly wrong.

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