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.
H.R. 2340, Salmon Lake Land Selection Resolution Act
April 21, 2010
Thank you for the opportunity to testify on H.R. 2340, the Salmon Lake Land Selection Resolution Act. As a party to the Salmon Lake Area Land Ownership Consolidation Agreement, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has supported efforts between the State of Alaska and the Bering Straits Native Corporation (BSNC) to resolve overlapping land selections at SalmonLake.As such, the BLM supports H.R. 2340 because it will ratify the agreement between the BLM, BSNC, and the State of Alaska, and allow for a reasonable and practicable conveyance of lands in the SalmonLake area.
Salmon Lake is located on the Seward Peninsula, approximately 40 miles northeast of Nome.The lake is one of the largest bodies of fresh water on the peninsula, and has long been an important source of food and resources for the Native people.Because the area contains significant fisheries and other subsistence resources, it remains a popular resource and destination for local communities.
The BLM is responsible for expediting the conveyance of Federal lands to Native corporations, including the BSNC, under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), and to the State of Alaska under the Alaska Statehood Act of 1958.
The BSNC, the Native regional corporation for the Bering Straits area, and the State of Alaska each sought to gain title to the SalmonLake area through selection applications filed under respective provisions of ANCSA and the Alaska Statehood Act.However, the land addressed by the two applications overlapped.The BSNC and the State negotiated a resolution to this issue whereby each entity would receive title to distinct lands.The BLM supported this resolution, and the three parties signed the Salmon Lake Area Land Ownership Consolidation Agreement on July 18, 2007.Legislation is now required to ratify the Agreement between the United States (acting through the Department of Interior, BLM), the BSNC, and the State of Alaska.The Agreement would have expired on January 1, 2009, but its term was extended to January 1, 2011 in anticipation of ratifying legislation.
H.R. 2340 represents an opportunity to resolve the overlapping land selections between the BSNC and the State.The bill would ratify the Agreement between the BLM, the BSNC, and the State, and allow for finalization of land conveyances in the SalmonLake area.The lands would be transferred in accordance with the terms of the signed Agreement.
As noted, the BLM supported the efforts between the BSNC and State, and signed the Agreement to recognize the desires of the entities.The bill would also further the intent of the Alaska Land Transfer Acceleration Act of 2004 (PL 108-452), expediting the transfer of title to federal lands to Native corporations and the State of Alaska.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of H.R. 2340.I am happy to answer any questions.