View Full Version : USFS Land Sale

03-30-2006, 12:48 PM
You may or may not have been following this story...
The USFS has been directed to divest itself of isolated, high maintenance parcels of land. The monies gained from this sale will go to:
Choose one:
a) Forest health and land management, currently woefully underfunded.
b) Forest road and trail maintenance, currently woefully underfunded.
c) Funding the OHV rule, which comes very close to being an unfunded mandate.
d) Rural schools, in no way associated with the USFS.

Yep. Pick d) and you are correct. Doesn't make sense to me either. Also, this project has been rushed through faster than land managers have been able to evaluate it. Comment info below.
The Forest Service is extending the public comment period to May 1st on the plan to sell 300,000 acres of public land to raise money for the rural-schools program. Undersecretary Mark Rey reports that the forest service has received more than 4000 comments; the majority do not support the sale.

You may submit your comments by e-mail to SRS_Land_Sales@fs.fed.us (SRS_Land_Sales@fs.fed.us), by fax to (202) 205–1604, or by mail to USDA Forest Service, SRS Comments, Lands 4S, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Mailstop 1124, Washington, DC 20250– 0003. Electronic submission is preferred.

If you submit your comments by e-mail or fax, you do not need to send a paper copy by mail.

Your comments may address the entire list of parcels identified or an individual parcel or parcels on that list. If you are commenting about a specific parcel on the list, it would be helpful to provide the parcel’s number from the list and all information specifically related to the sale of that parcel.

The Federal Register Notice can be found at http://www.fs.fed.us (http://www.fs.fed.us/), via the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act link to the ‘‘President’s FY 2007 Budget Proposal for the Forest Service—Secure Rural Schools and Community Self- Determination Act Extension’’ page.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cynthia R. Swanson, Assistant Director of Lands, Washington Office, 202–205-0099

El Jefe
03-30-2006, 01:45 PM

I saw a story in yesterday's Rocky that things weren't going so well for the land sale..here's the link:

03-30-2006, 02:34 PM
submit your comments by e-mail

I'll get right on that.

The administration wants to sell the land, including 21,652 acres in Colorado, to raise $800 million for rural schools and roads, which lost funding due to federal budget cuts.

:confused: :rant:

03-30-2006, 05:14 PM
My email (please do not copy/paste, but feel free to use as a rough guide):
Hello, and thank you for the opportunity to comment. Please include my comments in the decisionmaking process, and keep me advised of that process' resolution.

I conditionally support the sale of isolated segments of USFS land to consolidate holdings, but completely oppose these funds being used to fund rural schools. The USFS OHV rule, trails and OHV road maintenance, and travel management are areas that are woefully underfunded and any proceeds from these sales should go directly to land management issues. If we do not begin to take better care of our recreational opportunities on public land, the only option will be an unacceptable closure of them! Neither I, nor my friends and associates, will stand for that under any circumstances.

Additionally, local land managers and the public need to be involved in the evaluation of each and every parcel of land for sale. Other options besides sale would include land swaps to reduce forest inholdings. Why have these not been addressed? The court actions from NEPA violations in the sale of these lands will tie this project up for years – NEPA needs to be followed, and the public needs to be involved.

Please stop this fast-track rushed process now, and proceed carefully in auctioning off our public lands, as well as in using the proceeds for like needs.

Bill Morgan
Rising Sun 4x4 Club Land Use Coordinator

07-06-2006, 12:11 PM
From Gene King:
The prospect of selling off National Forest lands and BLM lands has crashed and burned!!!!!!!!!!!

Last week a Senate committee quietly approved a spending bill for the Interior Department that did NOT include the Bush's administration plan to sell-off public lands.

A few weeks ago, a House Committee made the similar determination.

An aide to Senator Conrad Burns, chair of the Interior Appropriations sub-committee, said he wasn't expecting any attempt to revive the measure.

The new Interior Secretary, Dirk Kempethorne, backed away from the idea during his confirmation hearing in early May.

:cheers: :cheers: :cheers: :thumb:

Seldom Seen
07-07-2006, 04:07 AM
Beginning to see a pattern here. Might I suggest, if Mr. King is going to be effective at defending our right to recreate, that perhaps he take a few adult continuing education courses. I would suggest reading comprehension and civics.

The US Forest Service is under the US Dept of Agriculture (headed by sec.Mike Johanns) and NOT the Dept. Of The Interior. As far as sec. Johanns is concerned, it's NOT a done deal. The list of USFS lands has been drawn up and is ready to go on the auction block. We haven't heard much of it lately, but it's still out there ready to rear it's ugly head when the timing's right.

Mr King *might* be confusing former Interior sec Gail Norton's illegal backdoor deal with the BLM and the state of Utah, to allow commercial development on BLM land in SE UT. and SW CO. A deal that would have closed many trails and recreation areas that we all enjoy.

07-10-2006, 07:40 AM
Dangit. So much elation obliterated by wanton careful attention to detail... As usual, Brian, you are on top of it.

I am a little incensed that the left, more blatantly our foes (on average) to motorized recreation, are not more opposed to us than the right, sounding good but making backroom deals with industry and closing recreation for those reasons.

I miss Ben Nighthorse-Campbell. A little more independent thinking, please....

Seldom Seen
07-10-2006, 09:46 PM
Hehe.... premature elation:lol:

I'm not sure what Mrs Norton's political agenda was and with her resignation, I guess we'll never know. I was unable to find objective info on the deal and trying to extract the issues from the convoluted details in the court documents was...well :banghead: With Mr Kempethorne's appointment it appears to be a dead issue anyway. I'll just chalk it up as another fine example of our public land managers managing in their own interest and not the public or the land's.

As far as the USFS land deal goes it seems the reason it fell off my radar is because it is no longer in the hands of the USFS, it is a bill before congress entitled "National Forest Land Conveyance for Rural Communities Act." the bill appears to be floundering in committees of both the house and senate. I need to readjust my radar to keep an eye on it. I managed to find a MT newspaper article where USDA Undersecretary Rey was quoted as saying, "...if the plan failed this year, he would be back next year with an alternative."

The entire article:


Plan to sell national forest lands facing tough times
DUNCAN MANSFIELD Associated Press Writer

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Bush administration’s plan to sell national forest lands to help pay for rural schools is drawing widespread opposition and suffering legislative setbacks, but the administration isn’t backing off. The administration wants to raise $800 million for the Secure Rural Schools program for another five years by selling 300,000 forested acres in 35 states. The administration’s plan was seen as virtually dead after the Senate Appropriations Committee, following the lead of its House counterpart months before, refused last week to include the proposal in a $26 billion interior appropriations bill. But Dan Jiron, Washington spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service, contends the obituary is premature. “What you have heard isn’t an indication of anything at this point,” he said Thursday. Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey, who oversees the Forest Service, told The Post and Courier newspaper in Charleston, S. C., two weeks ago the proposal has drawn more than 130,000 comments. He said except for a few real estate agents, most were opposed.
But Rey, a former timber industry lobbyist, defended the plan as a way to help counties pay for schools and roads when large portions of their property tax base are tied up in national forest lands and timber sales that normally subsidize them are slipping. Rey said if the plan failed this year, he would be back next year with an alternative. Meanwhile, Jiron said the administration will press its case this year in Congress before committees with direct oversight of the rural schools program. “I don’t like to get into fights with people in this administration, but to me (this) is arrogant,” said Tennessee Rep. Zach Wamp, a Republican on the House Appropriations Committee whose district includes large sections of the Cherokee National Forest. “Congress has a role here. This is not the executive branch rules everything,” he said. Wamp said opposition is strong and bipartisan to the land sales, though there is support for the rural schools program. “We are all for finding ways to pay for it, but we are all against selling public land to do it,” he said.

While the bulk of the land proposed for sale is in Western states, forests in the South also are affected. And the impact might be greater on Southern Appalachia because it has less national forest to begin with, said David Carr with the Southern Environmental Law Center in Charlottesville, Va. “Under this plan, roughly 10,000 acres was being proposed for sale in North Carolina and that same amount was being proposed for sale in Oregon. But Oregon has 15 times more national forest than North Carolina,” he said. “Because recreation demand and the use of these national forests continues to go up, we should be adding to the base, not subtracting it.” Matt Mackowiak, a spokesman for Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., who chairs the Senate Appropriations interior subcommittee, said, “This is just one of those things that is put in the budget that doesn’t have any momentum. People think it is a bad idea from the start.”


Seldom Seen
09-15-2006, 11:47 PM
Slightly OT:

I'm not sure what Mrs Norton's political agenda was and with her resignation, I guess we'll never know

Maybe we will know:

Probe launched into public lands management
By Robert Gehrke
The Salt Lake Tribune
Posted: Sept 7 2006 10:15 AM- WASHINGTON - The Interior Department's inspector general has launched an investigation into environmentalists' complaints that the Bureau of Land Management promised to rig oil and gas leasing to benefit Utah counties and oil companies.
Inspector General Earl Devaney notified Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., that he had opened an inquiry in a letter sent last week.

Hinchey had requested the investigation based on a memo from Robert Weidner, a lobbyist for several Utah counties, to his county officials expressing enthusiasm for the interim Utah BLM director's promise to work to "reduce restrictions on access to public land." The July 18 meeting was attended by BLM Deputy Director Jim Hughes, interim BLM State Director Henri Bisson, county officials and representatives from each of the 10 major oil and gas companies operating in Utah. Bisson has since been replaced as Utah state director by former BLM chief of staff Selma Sierra.
Hinchey and several environmental groups complained the BLM was making commitments in closed-door meetings to - as Weidner put it - "fix" resource management plans.

Weidner expressed urgency to work with BLM while the administration is amenable to dealing with the counties.

"By launching this investigation, the Interior Department's Inspector General is acknowledging that BLM may have violated the public's trust and the law when working in Utah to allow more oil and gas access to wilderness lands,[edit=seldom, note the lower case 'w']" Hinchey said in a statement Wednesday. "From everything we've seen, BLM officials appear to have http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/std/clear.gifhttp://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/std/clear.gifhttp://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/std/clear.gifdocument.writeln(AAMB6);http://www.nacorp.com/ads/1pixel.gif ( http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/std/clear.gifhttp://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/std/clear.gifacted against the best interests of the American people and the environment in order to expedite plans that would advance the oil and gas industry in Utah." Weidner said the July 18 meeting was nothing more than a normal meeting with stakeholders who have a direct interest in the way BLM manages public lands.

"I think it presents us a golden opportunity to clarify, once and for all, what the counties' role in this process actually is," he said.
He said the BLM didn't commit to specific management changes, but to commit to working with counties on the planning processes.
"The changes come in their working attitude toward counties," he said. "Historically they treated counties as if they're another interest group like (the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance) is." The BLM did not immediately comment on the inspector general's letter.

Documents distributed at the meeting lay out the projected time lines for management plans for the Vernal, Price, Richfield, Moab, Monticello and Kanab field offices and the issues that are being addressed in preparing each plan.