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August 10, 2007

Contact: Lesley A. Collins
307-261-7603

BLM Acquires 275 Acres of Land along North Platte River

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Casper Field Office announced today that it acquired a 275-acre parcel of land along the North Platte River near Gray Reef.

The acquisition, which has been a BLM priority for several years, was highlighted in a ceremony today (August 10) that marked the property’s acceptance into Federal ownership and set the stage for public use of this special area.

Sen. John Barrasso was the keynote speaker, and representatives from Senator Mike Enzi and Rep. Barbara Cubin’s office also attended. Also in attendance were representatives of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the Wyoming Fly Casters, and the Conservation Fund. These and other individuals and groups played key roles in gaining funding and support for the acquisition.

The Conservation Fund (TCF), a top-ranked environmental organization, is the BLM’s principal partner in efforts to acquire land and land interests along the North Platte River. TCF negotiated the acquisition and took title on an interim basis pending completion of Federal funding for the property. Funding from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Wyoming Fly Casters also contributed to the acquisition.

"This project is an excellent example of Federal and state governments working in cooperation with private and non-profit organizations," said Jim Murkin, BLM Casper Field Office Manager. He added, "I want to thank Wyoming’s congressional delegation for helping to bring this acquisition to completion, which will enhance the public’s opportunity for recreational access."

"Ultimately, this project will support the health of the North Platte river—including its banks, wetlands, and fish populations," noted Luke Lynch, a Wyoming field representative for The Conservation Fund. "That’s good for both the environment and the people who enjoy it." Since 1985, the Fund and its partners have preserved roughly six million acres throughout the U.S.

The acquired property is now open for public use. Access will be restricted to pedestrian travel between the Gray Reef County Road and the riverfront until a detailed management plan is completed. BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner Eve Bennett said the Bureau anticipates that vehicle access on the riverfront portion of the property will be precluded, keeping it a walk-in area for the public. She also said parking areas would be identified in a manner that maintains the property’s natural setting.

 

-BLM-