A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program) is committed toensuring that Indian landowners will receive fair market value for their fractional lands.
With the massive scope of the properties involved (more than 93,500 tracts on approximately 150 reservations), the Buy-Back Program plans to use mass appraisal techniques in which values are assessed simultaneously for many properties within a particular geographic area. This efficient and cost-effective process for valuations will be used to appraise homogenous, non-complex, vacant lands that have comparable land sales available. At the same time, recognizing that data limitations, non-homogeneous property types, and unique characteristics of specific properties may limit the use of mass appraisals, the Buy-Back Program will also employ project appraisals and property-specific appraisals as appropriate.
This strategy has been reviewed by The Appraisal Foundation (TAF), a non-profit, non-partisan organization that has been authorized by Congress to issue national appraisal standards and appraiser qualifications, and has previously provided the Department with guidance regarding valuation methods and techniques.
In addition to its determination that the Department's Valuation Plan, developed by theOffice of Appraisal Services in the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians,represents a methodologically sound approach to meeting the requirements of the Buy-Back Program, TAF also provided a set of recommendations to further strengthen the program. These recommendations have been adopted and incorporated into the Valuation Plan, which will guide the methods for determining the market value on which offers to Indian landowners will be based.