Wednesday, July 23, 2008

7/23: Public Comment on BLM/OR Dept. of State Lands Swap

Just in from ONDA. -hoc

Dear Harold Olaf,

The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) has applied to acquire and develop over 1,500 acres of public land near Deschutes Market Road from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The DSL plans to sell these lands which may then be re-zoned to allow for commercial, industrial or residential use.

BLM information on the DSL Land Transfer and link to comment forms

A public meeting will be held July 23rd 7pm-8:30pm at the Pilot Butte Elementary School, 1501 NE Neff Road, Bend Oregon. Please show up to share comments with the BLM about these important lands.

Comments can also be e-mailed to or submitted to: BLM, DSL Selection; 3050 NE Third Street; Prineville, OR 97754.

Here are some important points to consider in your comments:

1) The DSL should acquire lands from the BLM to fund the Common School Fund and resolve the federal government’s land debt to the state of Oregon; however, these lands should fit into future development plans of Deschutes County and the City of Bend. The lands currently identified by the DSL are currently zoned for farm use and are located outside of Bend’s current and projected Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).

2) The lands selected by the DSL have been identified as "Area of Critical Environmental Concern" because the Historic Huntington Wagon Trail bisects this area. The area was also deemed appropriate for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

3) The lands selected by the DSL also contain old-growth juniper stands and associated sensitive wildlife.

4) The Upper Deschutes Resource Management Plan, completed by the BLM in 2005, classified this land as Z1. These are lands that the BLM planned to conserve due to their significant resource values. The DSL could and should select lands with limited resource values (i.e. those categorized by the BLM as Z2 or Z3 lands).

5) The BLM has limited funds to manage millions of acres of public land in Oregon. Because the DSL has selected lands that have significant conservation and resource values, the BLM will need to undertake a costly amendment to their recently-adopted Resource Management Plan. The DSL should cover the costs incurred in this process and for necessary compliance under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).


Read about important ONDA court victory requiring BLM to consider wilderness:
story from Oregonian
ONDA's response

Get more info about the Oregon Natural Desert Association.

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