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).
Before the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee
Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests
S. 832, Turnabout Ranch, Utah Land Conveyance
February 27, 2008
Thank you for the opportunity to testify on S. 832, a bill to convey approximately 25 acres of lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to Turnabout Ranch in Utah. The BLM supports this legislation.
Turnabout Ranch is both a working ranch and a residential treatment center for troubled teens. Located north of Escalante, Utah the ranch is adjacent to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (Monument). Several years ago, the owners of Turnabout Ranch realized that they were using a field that is on BLM-managed lands within the Monument for pasture and a corral and approached the BLM about purchasing these lands. It is clear that this long-standing trespass was inadvertent. (These lands were originally owned by the state of Utah and were exchanged to the BLM following the Monument designation under the provisions of Public Law 105-335.) These approximately 25 acres, which are on the edge of the Monument, are critical to the effective functioning of the ranch and treatment center. The BLM cannot undertake a sale of this parcel to the Ranch because the acres are within the Monument boundary.
S. 832 provides for a legislated sale of the 25 acres on which Turnabout Ranch is in trespass to the ranch for appraised fair market value. The bill specifies that the appraisal be completed in accordance with the Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions and the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. It further provides that all costs related to the sale be borne by Turnabout Ranch. Finally, following the sale of the land, the boundary of the Monument is modified to exclude just these 25 acres from the edge of the Monument.
The BLM has taken a close look at the land proposed for sale to the Ranch under S. 832. It is our belief that sale of these lands will not undermine the purposes for which the Monument was established. Therefore, we support this legislative remedy to clear title issues with a suggestion for one very technical modification.