U.S. Forest Service cuts acreage in land sale proposal | SierraSun.com

U.S. Forest Service cuts acreage in land sale proposal

The U.S. Forest Service modified plans to sell more than 300,000 acres of forest across the country to fund rural roads and schools, tightening up the list that includes more than 160 acres of land near of Truckee.

Two separate parcels in Euer Valley north of the Tahoe Donner subdivision, which equal 121 acres, and 40 acres farther north in Carpenter Valley are part of the proposal.

Joanne Robique, who oversees the Truckee Ranger District, said the three properties are beautiful but do fit into the Forest Service criteria of salable lands.

“The fact that they are isolated makes them worth considering,” said Robique. “The thing that needs to be looked at is if there is some other value that counterbalances that.”

The Forest Service has not managed the properties in recent years, and has no established access to the Euer Valley property she said. But that does not mean the land is without value.

“The parcels have certain value … they are actually gorgeous parcels,” she said.

In the Tahoe National Forest the federal agency cut seven parcels from the proposed sale list and added another that could be sold to a private owner. The change subtracted 63 acres from the proposal. The Tahoe National Forest now has just more than 2,000 acres of land that could be sold.

Across California, the federal “for sale” list was cut from 85,000 acres to 79,000 acres.

Land trusts and state and local governments would have the first opportunity to buy

the land, revisions to the proposal show.

The number of properties that could be liquidated is still in flux, and the list is expected to get even shorter, said Matt Mathes, spokesman for the Forest Service. The initial list was generated by computers that blindly chose parcels isolated from other national forest land.

“We knew there was going to be a problem with that list,” Mathes said.

So far the federal land sale proposal has stirred an outcry among western environmentalists and lawmakers.

The five-year act is expected to generate $800 million to fund rural schools and roads that have been hurt by lowered timber sales.

The Forest Service is accepting comments on the parcels to determine which plots of land will remain in the proposal, which will go to the U.S. Congress for a decision this spring.

“What is helpful is if someone can give a specific, concrete reason why a parcel should not be sold,” said Mathes.

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