A half square mile of sagebrush flats and rolling Gros Ventre Range foothills with remarkable Teton views is being considered for a sale to raise funds for a state agency that’s been bit by Jackson Hole’s housing crisis.
The undeveloped swath of land, known as the Teton Wildlife Habitat Management Area, is owned by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, an appointed board whose members directed the department to explore conveying the land to the federal government.
“That WHMA, right now, really serves very little use,” Commissioner Peter Dube, of Buffalo, said at a meeting earlier this month.
The parcel in question, listed at between 321 and 323.8 acres, is a state-owned inholding within the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Its west boundary runs along the edge of the National Elk Refuge.
Game and Fish ought to explore a sale or a swap of the prime parcel, Dube said, “regardless” of what becomes of efforts to secure affordable housing for the agency’s Jackson staff. The possibility of disposing of the land first came up in the context of securing land where Game and Fish could build workforce housing. The discussion has morphed into a more general discussion about selling the land.
Commissioner Patrick Crank, of Cheyenne, also spoke favorably about a prospective sale and seemed motivated by recent deals between Wyoming and the National Park Service. The Wyoming Office of State Lands and investments sold Grand Teton National Park an 86-acre parcel near the Snake River for $16 million in 2012 and a 640-acre tract in Antelope Flats for $45 million in 2016. Real estate values in the valley have only climbed since then.
“Faced with this incredible dilemma, we need to explore either the sale — and yes, I’m saying sale — of that property, or trade,” Crank said.
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