By Marcus Huff
Staff Writer 

Amended state statute addresses National Historic Preservation Act


February 27, 2018

CHEYENNE – Under an amendment to Title 9-14-102 of the Wyoming State Statutes, the State Senate is advancing an act that effectively labels the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) as a threat to private property owners in the state, by a vote of 26 to 3, with one excused vote. The bill, Senate File 101, passed second reading on Friday.

Established in 1966, the National Historic Preservation Act seeks to protect by designation, historically significant sites and archeological areas across all fifty states. Currently, Wyoming has 27 National Historic Landmarks (including the State Capitol building) and 553 National Historic Places, designated under the NHPA.

Added to Chapter 14 of the state statues, under the heading “Protection of Constitutional Rights” the latest amendment, titled “Property Rights – National Historic Preservation Act”, reads:

“The legislature finds that, while the National Historic Preservation Act is vital to preserving our history, the federal government’s implementation of the National Historic Preservation Act can undermine the rights of private property owners, inhibit economic activity critical to the state of Wyoming and suppress revenue to the state, local and federal governments. The legislature further finds that these negative effects can be limited if a federal agency refrains from imposing a delay or restriction on any approval or permit based on any effect, viewshed or similar requirement on private property within a project’s area of potential effects.”

Locally, Washakie County currently has six National Historic Landmarks Places, including the Worland Ranch and town site in Worland, the Mercantile, Worland House and Emerson Parks House in Ten Sleep, the Saban Lookout Tower in the Big Horn Mountains, and the Ainsworth House at Big Trails.

By comparison, Big Horn County has 23, Hot Springs County has 10, and Johnson County has 26.


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