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The Associated Press

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — The Mead family has sold part of the Spring Gulch Ranch, opening the possibility for some housing development along the Gros Ventre River.

Brad Mead declined to discuss details of the sale near the south end of Grand Teton National Park.

According to Teton County records, the Mead family sold three tracts of unspecified size to Two Rivers Ranch, a Wyoming limited liability company.

Two Rivers Ranch sold a 36-acre parcel to a couple and additional lands were transferred among Mead family members, according to the deeds.

Mead said Monday the land is not part of the family's cattle operation and the sale would not hinder ranching.

According to the deeds, the Meads retained an access easement to the riverbank, presumably so they could keep moving cattle along the river to summer grazing allotments in the park.

The ranch has been part of a congressionally authorized study to determine whether cattle grazing should continue in the park. The Meads and the Porter-Gill family share a grazing lease in the park.

The lease was due to expire after heirs to the park grazing rights died in both families. In 1997, Congress intervened and extended the lease indefinitely while calling for a study of possible links between grazing in the park and preserving open space on the ranches.

An ad-hoc committee studied the issue nearly three years but was split over whether park grazing is a viable tool to preserve open space.

Meanwhile, the law extending the grazing leases contains a provision that cancels the permits if the families develop their land.

Mead said he does not believe the recent sale will affect his family's grazing privileges because it is not land the family uses for grazing, growing hay or cattle production in general.

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