Former senator’s Wyoming ranch purchased for national forest

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — The Bridger-Teton National Forest has acquired a sprawling former ranch that had been the largest remaining private inholding along the Upper Gros Ventre River valley in northwest Wyoming.

The $3 million purchase of the 990-acre (400-hectare) property roughly 30 miles east of Jackson was recently announced by the U.S. Forest Service and The Trust For Public Land.

The land had been donated to the trust in 2014 by former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, a four-term lawmaker and businessman turned philanthropist from Wisconsin.

It includes more than 2.5 miles of frontage along the Gros Ventre River and six tributaries.

Bridger-Teton Forest Supervisor Tricia O’Connor said the purchase would protect backcountry areas from future development and allow for their use by the general public.

Money for the deal came from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund and represents the largest land conveyance to the Bridger-Teton in years, the Jackson Hole News and Guide reported.

“It’s been a once-in-a-career type of project, to be able to work with folks like Herb Kohl on such a high-quality property like that,” said Chris Deming, the Trust for Public Land senior project manager. “It really is the largest and most pristine inholding in the Upper Gros Ventre.”

The $3 million is being put into a “land-action fund” that will support protection of open space in Jackson and beyond, with priority going to projects in the Gros Ventre valley.

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