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Gordon appeals massive federal land acquisition near Casper

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North Platte Public Access

Water rushes past an angler in the North Platte River near Gray Reef in 2012. 

Wyoming is appealing the largest-ever Wyoming land acquisition by the Bureau of Land Management due to concerns about the “transparency” of the process, Gov. Mark Gordon said Friday.

The BLM announced several weeks ago that it had purchased a 35,670-acre ranch southwest of Casper, located in Natrona and Carbon counties, and the property was now publicly accessible.

Federal ownership of the property allows anglers to reach another 8.8 miles of the North Platte River and creates a 118-square-mile block of contiguous public land that connects 40,000 acres of formerly unreachable state and federal lands.

But Wyoming “has concerns that BLM did not involve the public in the acquisition process and that the environmental assessment did not adequately consider impacts on tax revenues, school funding, grazing, mineral development and other natural resources,” Gordon’s office said in a statement released late Friday afternoon.

Gordon emphasized that he supports increasing access to public land and the right of private landowners to determine how it is sold.

“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.”

Follow state politics reporter Victoria Eavis on Twitter @Victoria_Eavis

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