FILE - North Platte River Wyoming

A drift boat on the North Platte River near Casper, Wyoming

(The Center Square) – The state of Wyoming is appealing the federal government’s recent purchase of over 35,000 acres of land in Natrona County, citing concerns over transparency and public oversight of the land acquisition.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced earlier this month that it acquired the land with $21 million total from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

BLM officials said the land acquisition, which increases access to almost nine miles of the North Platte River, is “a big step forward for improving public access.” 

Wyoming’s appeal alleges the agency didn’t allow for public comments or input from state or local officials. It added that an environmental assessment didn’t address “potential impacts that the Marton Ranch acquisition will have on tax revenues, grazing, mineral development, and other natural resources.”

Gov. Mark Gordon said in a statement Friday that while he values public land access, the acquisition needs public scrutiny.

“This action is not about limiting access for sportspeople or challenging the rights of private property owners’ rights,” he said. “It is about whether the Federal government can increase its land holdings without public scrutiny, or should it adhere to the same transparent process that private landowners are subject to if they sought to purchase or exchange federal land.”

 

A BLM High Plains District spokesperson told The Center Square that the agency is reviewing the appeal but declined to comment further.

This story may be updated.

Regional Editor

Derek Draplin is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as an opinion producer at Forbes, as an editor at The Daily Caller, and as a reporter at Michigan Capitol Confidential and The Detroit News.