BLM
September 9,2015 - (United Citizens Against SVVRRNM)

Insider information

The meeting was drawing to a close when former
BLM (Bureau of Land Management) employee
David Miller offered his personal observations
from working with national monument
designations.

"I've seen it over and over. They say 'nothing will
change'," but the federal government makes it so
hard to do business, they (ranchers and
recreational concessionaires) don't do business
anymore," said Miller.
"Quotes", Letters & Research
Sedona Red Rock National Monument
Bye Bye Trails
September 9,2015 - (United Citizens Against SVVRRNM)

Later in the meeting, presenter Jim Farley
examined case law.

"Most Sedona hiking trails are
volunteer-maintained, meaning unofficial. They are
tolerated by the USFS because they are
well-maintained," Farley said.

"But under national monument status, these trails
would be illegal as 'unofficial' and disturbing the
natural features," said Farley. "The presence of
any threatened species could stop biking and
hiking all together."

Noted was the Colorado National Monument
banning the walking of dogs -- even while leashed
-- on Devil's Kitchen trails in an effort to protect
certain species of wildlife.
UNINTENDED Consequences
September 9,2015 - (United Citizens Against SVVRRNM)

The unintended consequences of any new
management plan effecting recreational areas
within the Verde Valley was also raised as a
concern.

Some of the as-yet unanswered questions include,
"What if Cottonwood wanted to annex further north
into national monument land?" or "What if Sedona
"I did some research. If these lands become a
national monument, the monument rules become
senior to every municipality we have; county, city,
every jurisdiction, including zoning," said
presenter Esther Talbert, a realtor.

Farley noted, "The property clause is routinely
used to prohibit and regulate hunting, mining,
snow machining, camping and boating on state or
private land that is landlocked by or adjacent to a
Federal Conservation Unit (such as a national
monument)."

He sighted case law involving a Minnesota boater
prohibited from operating on a state lake within a
national park boundary, as well as a private
property holder required to pay for a NEPA report
to irrigate or plant ornamental trees on his 20 acre
private plot inside a 6-million acre national park.
Coconino Archaeologist

I am not in favor of making the Red Rocks a
National Monument.  I’ve gone through this twice
before but it doesn’t seem to go away.   The Red
Rocks area has been formally studied by the NPS
about 10 years ago and it was determined that the
themes that form the basis for National Monument
designation, in this case geology and
archaeology, were already adequately met in the
region with Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion,  and the
various archaeological monuments.  
Making the area a National Monument would cost
millions of dollars and the only “protection” that
would be offered would be restricting  public
access to the area.    Is that what we really
want?    If anything, a designation as a National
Monument would most likely draw even more
people to the area, which I’m sure would make the
jeep tour people happy, if they were allowed to
keep doing commercial tours of the area, which I
suspect would not be allowed.
People need to think about the pros and cons of
such a proposal, and if they do, I think they’ll
realize NPS designation does not automatically
mean more “protection” …..or dollars.  Their
efforts would be better directed to urging
Congress to provide more funding to the USFS to
help us do a better job managing the area.
by SANDRA COSENTINO

SEDONA AREA LAND EXCHANGE ISSUE

Land Exchanges with the forest service for public
lands adjacent to the checkerboard pattern of
original homestead patent lands around Sedona
from 1950's to 1980's solidified and added to the
residential land base in Sedona. That pioneer era
ENDED with passage of Amendment 12 to the
Sedona-Oak Creek area plan in 1998. This well
crafted plan, which had tremendous local
involvement, recognized the national and
international importance of the Sedona area lands:
forest lands in this area were REMOVED from the
base for land exchange.

See details below.

I have been researching this with Forest Service
records and planning documents and will write a
bigger article on this soon.

Fear of Forest Service land exchanges is the
reason for inclusion of thousands of acres of
private land in the proposed Red Rock National
boundaries. Keep Sedona Beautiful's solution is a
guideline that closes the area to land disposal
“through public land laws”. This was KSB’s main
concern in the 2010-2013 national scenic area
proposed legislation they worked with Rep. Anne
Kirkpatrick on.

This arbitrary guideline will PRECLUDE the Forest
Service from providing needed community sites
in the future such as for a school and for making
small adjustments such as for right-of-way
changes or for other valuable public purposes we
cannot foresee decades from now. We are a land-
locked town within the forest--do we want the
future generations to have some options?

Facts:
  1. The Sedona area has been removed from the
    base for land exchange. Retention of these
    nationally and internally recognized high
    value public lands is the goal of the Coconino
    Forest Plan. There have been NO new
    exchanges since Amendment 12.
  2. To amend this restriction on land exchange
    requires an extensive analysis and public
    process. It is not a small administrative
    decision as Mr. O'Halleran has suggested in
    his presentations.
  3. Only a few hundred acres in the Dells area
    south of Sedona by the sewer system can be
    used to exchange for a high value site WITHIN
    THE SEDONA AREA. But 6 of the 8 high value
    properties in this planning unit the forest
    service identified as lands they would
    exchange with willing sellers have been
    purchased from 1999-2004 by the Public Land
    Conservation Fund so exchange for them is
    NOT needed.
  4. Other very limited authority the forest service
    has to dispose of federal lands are:

• for public sites needed by municipalities under
the Townsite Act or Educational Land Grant Act
(this is how Sedona obtained waste treatment
lands and the high school site)

• use Small Tracts Act to make minor adjustments
such as unneeded rights-of-ways. For example,
the Forest Plan calls for the for these adjustments:
Village of Oak Creek golf course encroachment
and the sale of the 11 acre Chapel of Holy Cross
site to the church, acreage within Slide Rock State
Park exchange for nearby state land.

• Very limited authority to sell an administrative
site such as the 11-acre sale of the Brewer Road
Ranger Station, which provided funds for building
a modern visitor center and ranger station as a
gateway facility on Highway 179.
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