Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Foundations Reach Halfway Mark in Bid to Raise $23 Million to Protect State Land from Being Sold for Development

Grand Teton National Park Foundation and DC-based National Park Foundation have reached the halfway mark in their campaign to protect one square mile of land in Grand Teton National Park from potential development. $11.5 million has been raised to date toward the goal of $23 million to purchase the 640-acre Antelope Flats parcel from the state of Wyoming.

The land has been part of Wyoming’s school trust since 1890 and the state is required by law to earn income from trust assets. The total value of the parcel is $46 million. In addition to the $23 million generated from private fundraising, the remaining half of the required funds will come from the federal government through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The state’s authority to sell the land directly to the federal government expires on December 31, 2016. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has made this her highest conservation inholding purchase priority in the country.

Fundraising momentum continues to build and many individuals and organizations have contributed to this urgent effort, including a generous $1 million grant from the Knobloch Family Foundation and $1 million from the Jackson Hole Land Trust.

“The Jackson Hole Land Trust is honored to be contributing to this land conservation project which will have a significant positive impact on the connectivity of wildlife habitat and migration routes within Grand Teton National Park and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem,” said Jackson Hole Land Trust Executive Director Laurie Andrews. “As a community, we are responsible for preserving the public and private lands that make this place special and the board and staff of JHLT are proud to be doing our part to ensure this important piece of our valley remains whole and untouched.”

In addition to fundraising jointly with Grand Teton National Park Foundation, the National Park Foundation has authorized $1 million of its own funds for the purchase. “Working with the Grand Teton National Park Foundation to preserve the Antelope Flats property is among the National Park Foundation’s top priorities in this centennial year of our National Parks,” said National Park Foundation President Will Shafroth. “Our million dollar commitment to the project has helped us reach the halfway point of the campaign and we must now redouble our efforts to get this across the finish line by year’s end.”

“We are so pleased with the incredible support we have received from our friends both locally and nationally to help make this land part of Grand Teton forever,” said Grand Teton National Park Foundation President Leslie Mattson. “It is wonderful to have reached the halfway point. We still have an enormous amount of work to do to meet our goal to purchase the property prior to December 31.”

“We continue to be amazed by the philanthropic work of the Grand Teton National Park Foundation and the National Park Foundation,” said Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela. “The work they are doing to protect the Antelope Flats parcel from development is crucial to the future of the park and the bison, elk, pronghorn, and other animals that use this habitat.”

To learn more and to support this historic initiative, visit www.gtnpf.org or contact Leslie Mattson at 307-732-0629 or leslie@gtnpf.org or King Laughlin at 202-525-2500 or klaughlin@nationalparks.org.



Jeff
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