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WASHINGTON, DC – The Wyoming Delegation is calling on the United States Forest Service to seek community opinion and host a public meeting on the proposed relocation of the Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF) Supervisor’s Office from Jackson to Alpine, Afton or Pinedale.

U.S. Senators Mike Enzi, John Barrasso and U.S. Representative Barbara Cubin, all R-WY, sent a letter to Intermountain Regional Forester Jack Troyer today requesting the Forest Service create an open dialogue between BTNF employees, county officials from all possibly impacted areas, federal agencies that work routinely with the Forest Service and the Jackson community before any discussion of a relocation of the office proceeds.

“This proposal is of critical importance not only to your agency and its employees, but to all of the surrounding communities served by your office,” the delegation wrote. “With this in mind, we strongly urge you to immediately gather local input on this proposal.

The letter was sent in response to an “Intermountain Region Decision Paper” (IRDP) published on August 24, 2007 discussing location options for the new BTNF Supervisor’s Office that would enable “affordable housing and meet the needs of the Forest Service staff and the public.” Skyrocketing housing prices in Jackson were cited as a concern for future BTNF employees who might be consequentially pushed out of the area and forced to commute significant distances from work to home.

“Several community leaders in Jackson have already registered their concerns about the possible move,” the delegation continued. “In addition, Alpine, Afton and Pinedale are all experiencing their own growing pains, including sharp increases in real estate prices. Relocation to any of these areas would bring unique challenges to the Forest Service.”

The delegation stressed the importance of having strong community input into selecting a location to build the new BTNF Supervisor’s Office and asked the Forest Service to host a public meeting before an expected decision is made October 1.