SUBLETTE COUNTY, Wyo. — The Conservation Fund, U.S. Forest Service and Jackson Hole Land Trust announced the addition of 240-acre Loomis Park Ranch to the Bridger-Teton National Forest in northwest Wyoming.
Nearly encircled by the national forest, the protection of Loomis Park Ranch has been a top Forest Service priority in the Greater Yellowstone Area for the past two decades. The Forest Service’s acquisition of the ranch effectively consolidates 280 acres within the forest, eliminates subdivision threats, preserves historical agricultural use and protects wildlife habitat.
This conservation effort was made possible through funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which was permanently and fully funded by the Great American Outdoors Act, enacted in August. The fund is a bipartisan, federal program that uses a percentage of proceeds from offshore oil and gas royalties—not taxpayer dollars—to acquire critical lands and protect our country’s best natural resources and recreational access.
Loomis Park Ranch has long been utilized for agriculture and cattle grazing, and the Bridger-Teton National Forest is committed to that continued private use of the property. The ranch will be immediately added to Bridger-Teton’s existing Beaver Twin grazing allotment, part of the Upper Green River watershed, home to some of the largest and oldest grazing allotments in the country.
Scientific data from the Wyoming Migration Initiative indicates that Loomis Park Ranch is in and adjacent migration corridors in the southwest portion of the Gros Ventre Mountains. Migrating elk from the Black Butte and Soda Lake winter feeding grounds stop over on the ranch, while individuals in the mule deer herd using the Red Desert to Hoback Corridor migrate through it.
The ranch sits on the boundary of a known pronghorn migration corridor just 1.5 miles west of the famous Path of the Pronghorn migration corridor. Grizzly bear, black bear, moose, raptors and neotropical songbirds all utilize this wildlife haven.
The Conservation Fund purchased the land in 2016, allowing the Forest Service the time needed to acquire funding. The Jackson Hole Land Trust assisted The Conservation Fund to hold and ultimately transfer the land to the Forest Service.
“Conserving the Loomis Park Ranch was a Wyoming-centered solution in many ways,” said Dan Schlager, Wyoming Director at The Conservation Fund. “The culmination of tremendous collaboration, this outcome maintains agriculture, conserves wildlife, enables a unique way to enjoy outdoor spaces, and supports Wyoming’s economy through multiple uses of public land. I’m grateful to the various partners involved from private landowners, to the Jackson Hole Land Trust, to the Forest Service who worked tirelessly on Loomis Park Ranch over several years.”
Forest Supervisor Tricia O’Connor emphasized the value of partnerships like these for the greater good. “The Loomis Park Ranch parcel is a great example of what is possible when partners come together for the benefit of our public lands,” she said. “Without our partners, the land transfer could not have taken place and because of that we now have a more intact National Forest System for the benefit of our public and the many uses this land will see in future generations.”
With the launch of the Green River Valley Program in 2016, the Jackson Hole Land Trust has expanded its mission to include protecting open spaces in Sublette County. “We were excited to be part of this collaborative approach to protect the Loomis Park Ranch through its incorporation into the Bridger Teton National Forest,” said Liz Long, Interim Co-Director and Director of Conservation at the Jackson Hole Land Trust. “This project embodies the spirit of our work to provide migration connectivity and stopover habitat to our region’s wildlife and to support agricultural operations. The protection of properties such as the Loomis Park Ranch, which holds significant conservation values, is our priority, and we were proud to be a partner in preserving this important piece of open space forever.”