The Trust for Public Land Friday hosted a news conference and reception in Jackson where it was announced they had reached an agreement with Plains Exploration and Production Company to buy out oil and gas leases on 58-thousand acres in the Hoback Basin of the Wyoming Range. Spokesperson Deb Love told the group that the agreement is a testament to the willingness of all parties concerned to find a win-win solution to protecting the area from the impacts of development while respecting the rights of lease holders. She pointed out, however, that $4¼ million dollars of the $8¾ million buy-out price still needs to be raised by December 31st to seal the deal. Wyoming Governor Matt Mead told the more than 100 people attending the event he remembered the trips he made with his family through the area as a child when they were running cattle in the Daniel area. He says what makes this agreement remarkable is that it respects the valid lease rights as well as a respect for the value of conservation. Furthermore, he notes the buy-out was accomplished without taxpayer money. Mead told the group while future generations may not recall the names of the legislators and private citizens who made this possible, someday there may be a grandfather out there with his grand-kids who may see their first eagle, or first deer or first moose; or have the opportunity to go fishing for the first time. Mead says he cannot place a money value on that. Says Mead, “I know that it is invaluable, and it is what makes our state great to know that long after we’re gone, our efforts will beneft generations and generations of people who may not know our name; but know that they live in a wonderful Wyoming that is as wonderful as their predecessors’” Also in attendance was Susan Thomas whose husband, Senator Craig Thomas had been instrumental in the formulation of the Wyoming Range Legacy Act that removed the area from future leasing. She told the group while Thomas believed in multiple use, he also believed in special places like the Wyoming Range. She recalled that toward the end of his life, she walked into his hospital room where he was under heavy sedation, and delivering to himself an address to the Senate about the Wyoming Range and its wild and scenic waters. Organizers pointed out that in order to raise the remaining money, supporters need only pledge $150 per acre of the land that is to be conserved.