By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
An exchange of lands expected to open up recreational opportunities on land east of Laramie has been completed by the state, Gov. Mark Gordon announced Monday.
Gordon, in a news release, said the state Board of Land Commissioners has closed on the exchange of 11,668 acres of state trust land for the 4,343-acre Pilot Hill property in Albany County.
“The culmination of this effort is a win for all Wyoming residents,” 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.”
The state land used for the exchange in Albany and Laramie counties is valued at $7.98 million, while the Pilot Hill parcel is valued at $8 million
In addition to making the land available for recreation including hiking, bicycling and horseback riding, the exchange protects the Casper Aquifer, a geologic feature that filters rain and snow to provide drinking water for Albany County residents, the news release said.
Discussions over the land began more than two years ago when the land’s owners, the Warren Livestock Co., offered to sell it to Albany County.
The university bought an adjacent 1,233 acres of land and the two properties will be managed jointly.
Plans call for a trail system to cross the land link it to the Medicine Bow National Forest to the east.
More than $1 million has been donated to help pay for access and infrastructure development on the land.