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Appeals court upholds state rights inside Grand Teton National Park

10th Circuit Court
10th Circuit
10th Circuit Court of Appeals

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (KIFI/KIDK)-The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Chief Judge Scott Skavdah’s decision that National Park Service (NPS) regulations prohibiting the taking of wildlife do not apply to private inholdings within the exterior boundary of Grand Teton National Park.

The state of Wyoming claimed authority when groups challenged a Park Service decision that removed private lands from the Joint Elk Reduction program.   The program is administered by the NPS and Wyoming Game and Fish Department.  

Judge Skavdah’s decision found that the state of Wyoming did not take legislative action to cede its jurisdiction over the inholdings to the federal government.  The groups appealed that decision to the 10th Circuit.

Wyoming Game and Fish and Governor Mark Gordon applauded the decision.

“This is a critical underpinning for wildlife management in this part of Wyoming and gives due recognition to joint management and the strong relationship we have with GTNP, which has always been important to Wyoming,” said Gordon.

The 10th Circuit also determined the plaintiff groups lacked standing to challenge the Elk Reduction Program.  It instructed the lower court to vacate that portion of its judgment and dismiss the claim without prejudice.

“This affirms what we believe has been the case all along with regards to wildlife management authority and responsibility in the Park, and this is good news for the state of Wyoming,” said Brian Nesvik, Game and Fish Director.  Wyoming used the Federal Natural Resource Policy Account to fund its litigation costs.

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