Governor Mark Gordon has announced that the State of Wyoming, Board of Land Commissioners has closed on a land exchange necessary to complete the Pilot Hill Project in Albany County, concluding a more than 2-year process.
The land exchange is expected to benefit the State’s trust beneficiaries by increasing immediate annual revenues as well as offering improved appreciation of land values. The exchange also provides public recreational access to more than 4,000 acres of undeveloped open space east of Laramie and is anticipated to deliver economic benefits to the State of Wyoming in the form of enhanced tourism opportunities.
“The culmination of this effort is a win for all Wyoming residents,” Governor Gordon said. “The State will see increased leasing revenues, and access to this land will enhance our recreation economy by attracting additional visitors and improving the quality of life for citizens.”
To complete the process, the State Board of Land Commissioners approved a land exchange of 11,668 acres of isolated state trust land in Albany and Laramie counties for 4,343 acres on the Pilot Hill parcel. The land lies adjacent to land recently acquired by the University of Wyoming and will be managed jointly to provide a seamless experience for recreational users. The project will also further protect the underlying Casper Aquifer, a unique geologic feature that naturally filters rain and snow to provide a primary drinking water source for the majority of Albany County residents.
“This exchange – and land exchanges of this nature – represent an achievement for the State’s trust beneficiaries,” said Jenifer Scoggin, Director of the Office of State Lands and Investments. “Completion of this exchange highlights the dedication of all involved and will benefit Wyoming citizens in multiple ways for generations.”
Citizens, businesses and other organizations donated more than $1 million toward access and infrastructure development for the Pilot Hill Project. In November, the University of Wyoming formalized its partnership in the project with the purchase of 1,233 acres of the parcel.
The parcel will be leased by Albany County and managed collaboratively under a non-profit organization. Recreational opportunities will include non-motorized trails for hikers, cyclists and equestrians that connect to the Medicine Bow National Forest to the east. A portion of the property will be maintained with a primary focus on conserving critical habitat for elk, mule deer and pronghorn.