The Pilot Hill Project recently announced a new partnership with Occidental Petroleum, which has relinquished its surface access rights to minerals underlying the Pilot Hill parcel.

Occidental, also known as Oxy, donated to the Pilot Hill Project a quitclaim deed covering surface access rights, further securing the vision for the property as dedicated open space.

Rockies Senior Vice President Brian Owens stated “The Pilot Hill Project will improve recreational access in Wyoming while safeguarding wildlife habitat and water resources. It also benefits visitors to the southeastern portion of the state for years to come, and we are thrilled to be part of this effort.”

Gov. Mark Gordon said the gift demonstrates Occidental’s forward-looking and community-oriented philosophy.

“This valuable donation supports the Pilot Hill Project and is simply exceptional,” he said. “Improving access to our public lands, supporting our wildlife and protecting an important aquifer are benefits all Wyoming citizens can enjoy.”

The remaining sections of the Pilot Hill parcel were deeded to private citizens through the Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916. Under that act, the federal government retained the subsurface rights to homesteaded land, and mineral rights on those parcels remain under government ownership today.

“We really can’t thank Occidental enough for this important gift to the Pilot Hill effort,” said Marilyn Kite, Finance Committee chair for the Pilot Hill Project. “This is a dramatic step forward for Pilot Hill and benefits all the citizens of Laramie and southeast Wyoming.”

The Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments is in the process of finalizing a report on the proposed land exchange to acquire the Pilot Hill property, with public hearings anticipated later this spring.

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