Committee Passes Bishop Lands Bill Benefiting Bountiful City
The House Committee on Natural Resources has cleared a bill sponsored by Congressman Rob Bishop which would enable a land exchange between Bountiful City and the U.S. Forest Service. The legislation, H.R. 3473, allows the Forest Service to increase the total federal acreage of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest by acquiring more than 1,600 acres currently owned by Bountiful but within the boundaries of the forest. In exchange, Bountiful is set to receive certain sections of land which are currently under Forest Service control but are adjacent to the city.
"My goal in drafting this bill was to help both sides get lands they needed and wanted," Congressman Bishop said, "and to create a long term solution for managing these areas. I believe this legislation accomplishes both the letter and spirit of that goal."
The bill, which has been in the works for three years, contains basically two main provisions.
First, it directs an equal value exchange between Bountiful City and the U.S. Forest Service. Bountiful City owns 1,680 acres of land which are within the National Forest System. Following a required appraisal, these lands will be exchanged for part of a 220 acre parcel of U.S. Forest Service Land near the Bountiful City limits. This land is the home of the Bountiful Lions Club gun range and the Davis Aqueduct.
Second, this bill allows for a process to move forward which will enable the Forest Service to deal with any of the land not consumed by this land exchange.
"It will be great to help the Forest Service consolidate their lands, and really fill in some gaps that exist right now in the national forest," Congressman Bishop added. "And the new land for Bountiful will allow them to protect some of those assets up there, like the gun range and the aqueduct, and better control their own destiny. It really is a win-win situation, and I look forward to passage by the full House."
The Bishop legislation, which has enjoyed broad support in Congress and was backed by the Bush Administration, now heads to the floor of the House of Representatives for consideration, though the timing of that potential vote has yet to be determined.