Pilot Hill Project featured on Wyoming Public Radio
Melodie Edwards joins Melanie Arnett on a tour of the land. Listen to the full story >
Call for Photos
The Pilot Hill Project Committee needs your help collecting images of the Pilot Hill Project.
We’re looking for photographs that showcase the sweeping vistas, shortgrass
prairie habitat, natural features and wildlife that characterize this unique and special place. Learn more >
Price reduced for Pilot Hill Project following appraisal
The price for the Pilot Hill Project has been reduced to $10.5 million following an appraisal.
The Albany County Commission signed a purchase agreement in September approving the purchase of about 5,500 acres of private land east of Laramie for $14 million. An appraisal was completed earlier this year, valuing the parcel at $10.5 million, and the purchase price was adjusted to reflect the appraisal.
The parcel, which would be open to the public after the purchase, stretches from the eastern edge of Laramie to the Pole Mountain Unit of the Medicine Bow National Forest. It covers a portion of the Casper Aquifer, which is a primary drinking water source for Laramie.
Public meetings set for March 22
A public meeting to discuss the purchase project has been scheduled for March 22 at the Lincoln Community Center, 365 W. Grand. Two sessions are scheduled for 5-7 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.
The meetings will be facilitated by the University of Wyoming Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources, which works with stakeholders to develop shared solutions. The goal of the meetings is to review the project status, answer questions, and seek public input. The Pilot Hill Project Committee is working to raise money for the purchase and develop plans for future management. You can donate to the Pilot Hill Fund at the Wyoming Community Foundation with 100% of your gift going toward purchasing the land. In the event that the purchase does not go through, donations will be used for a permanent fund to support recreation and conservation projects in Albany County. Go to PilotHill.org for more information.
Status Update, December 2017
- The Albany County Commissioners have appointed a Funding Oversight Committee to pursue funding for the purchase of approximately 5,528 acres located east of Laramie, WY, a project which will hereafter be referred to as the proposed Pilot Hill Land Purchase (PLP)
- The Committee Members are Chairman Chris Rothfuss (WY Senate), Vice-Chairman Tony Hoch (Laramie Rivers Conservation District), Terri Jones (Albany County Commissioner), Dan Furphy (WY House), Kermit Brown (UW Trustee), Marilyn Kite (Public), and Bryan Shuster (Laramie City Council)
- The Committee has established four subcommittees and is in the process of appointing participants; the subcommittees are:
- Economic Development – Dan Furphy, Chair
- Land Management – Tony Hoch, Chair
- Finance – Marilyn Kite, Chair
- Communications – Terri Jones, Chair
- The committee will pursue funding from all available sources; the Wyoming Community Foundation will soon accept tax deductible charitable contributions towards the land purchase, and the County will establish an account to accept donations to support committee operations in support of the purchase in the near future
- The subcommittees will develop plans for management of the land, support fundraising efforts, and work to inform the public regarding the project status and vision
- During initial public meetings regarding this project, a survey conducted by the county indicated overwhelming support, although concerns were raised regarding the price and the source of funds for the purchase and long-term management of the land
- Foremost, the project is an opportunity to support future economic development and growth, by providing accessible open space and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors and thereby increasing the attractiveness of our community as a place to live and do business
- In addition, the project will bring many other benefits, including:
- Protection of a portion of the Casper Aquifer recharge zone, the primary drinking water source for the City of Laramie, the University of Wyoming, and Albany County Residents
- Preservation of the viewscape from Laramie east toward the Laramie Mountains
- Creation of a route for direct public access from Laramie to approximately 55,000 acres of National Forest lands east of Laramie
- Expanded public recreation opportunities, which will enhance the livability and experience for Albany County Residents, including students, faculty and staff affiliated with the University of Wyoming
- Increased tourism potential associated with improved recreational opportunities
- Preservation of an area that offers critical winter wildlife habitat
- The proposed sale price is $14MM; an appraisal of the land has been initiated
- The County has entered an agreement with the Seller, wherein funds for the purchase must be raised by September 2018
- The feasibility of Wyoming State Parks & Historic Sites to manage the land is being explored
- Planning for access will be focused on public right of ways at the edge of town
- As the project progresses and as funding discussions evolve, public meetings and opportunities for comment will be scheduled