The Mormon Church is angling to buy U.S. Bureau of Land Management property it considers sacred, a move some say could set a troubling precedent. The Church has sought special legislation that would enable it to buy Martin’s Cove, BLM-owned land in central Wyoming where Utah-bound Mormons perished in an 1856 blizzard. The purchase would set a precedent for other groups wanting to buy sacred sites from the federal government. “This will really open a can of worms,” said Liz Howell of the Wyoming chapter of the Sierra Club. Wyoming conservationists fear the implications of the proposed purchase for the many public lands in the state considered sacred by Native Americans, such as Devil’s Tower, the Medicine Wheel, and parts of the Red Desert.

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