JACKSON, Wyo. Money from the proposed sale of valuable U.S. Forest Service property here isn't guaranteed to stay with the Bridger-Teton National Forest, an agency official said.
The Forest Service is proposing to relocate the Bridger-Teton supervisor's office and then sell some or all of the 15-acre parcel where it now sits.
The land is expected to be worth up to $50 million.
Keith Simila, Forest Service Intermountain Region director of engineering, said some of the money from the sale would go toward building a new forest supervisor's office.
Simila said it is possible that agency officials in Washington, D.C., could spend the money on other forests in other states.
That did not sit well with some.
"I'd hate to see this become a cash cow for other areas," said Franz Camenzind, executive director of the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance.
The Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance was one of several groups invited by the Forest Service to attend a meeting Thursday on the office relocation proposal.
The Forest Service is proposing to move the Bridger-Teton headquarters out of Teton County because of concerns over high housing costs in Jackson. It has drawn opposition from multiple segments of the Jackson Hole community and other federal and state agencies.
Bernie Holz, Wyoming Game and Fish Department regional supervisor, said moving the supervisor's office would be a "very big mistake" because people in the area have strong opinions about public lands and wildlife.
"Jackson is really unique," he said. "Any sort of topic in Jackson has eight sides to the argument."
Wyoming's congressional delegation, Republicans Rep. Barbara Cubin and Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, sent a letter Thursday to the new Forest Service regional director, Harv Forsgren, asking for more public participation in the process.
Cathy Beaty, Forest Service deputy regional director, said the agency will hold public meetings on the proposal. She said the regional office hopes to make a final decision on the plan by late winter.