Saturday, March 11, 2006

[puma-news] Comments on USFS Rural School land sale

TO: USFS Rural School land sales adminstrators
I am writing to express my outrage at the proposed USFS Rural Schools land sale.
First. It is totally unacceptable to sell irreplaceable public land held in trust by the US Forest Service in order to provide temporary funding for rural schools.&! nbsp; Proceeds from the proposed sale are truly negligible compared to the huge debt created by the Bush administration’s mismanagement and malfeasance.  It represents sacrifice of a valuable resource for inconsequential gain.  I acknowledge that the United States faces a financial crisis, however I maintain that sale of our heritage is an extremely shortsighted and irresponsible idea  - and sets a reckless precedent for the future of public lands owned by all US citizens.
Second. The notification method and public comment period has been handled so very poorly, that it begs suspicion of a deliberate smoke screen.  The website is cumbersome and difficult to use, with many discrepancies between tabulated data and graphic representation.  A parcel marked for sale in the Magnolia Road area (Township 1S Range 72W) that was visible on March 9, was missing from view on March 11, even though the last acknowledged update occurred on February 24.  I believe the parcel that mysteriously disappeared was known as "section 40", and was located on the north side of Magnolia Road at approximately mile 7.5, locally known as the "Boy Scout Rocks", and contiguous to a lar! ger parcel.
In spite of the poor maps and descriptions provided, it is obvious that the character of the lands proposed for sale has been grossly misrepresented.  Supposedly, the parcels are “isolated or inefficient to manage” – but study of the on-line map shows that, at least in my local area, the forest service has selected prominent local landmarks, such as Turtle Rock, (T1SR72W Section 15, USFS Parcel Label NENE).  Sale of the other parcels straddling Magnolia Road (T1SR72W, Sections 19, 20, 21 and 40) will effectively eliminate all public access to USFS l! and from Magnolia Road and County Road 97.  It seems obvious that these lands were chosen for their commercial value as real estate, and not because they were inaccessible or “isolated”.
Third. The 305,000 acres earmarked for sale are owned by all Americans, an irreplaceable resource held in trust by the US Forest Service.  My husband and I happen to own a home within the shadow of the local landmark known as Turtle Rock (T1SR72W Section 15, label NENE), on! e of the parcels designated for sale.  We have lived here for 22 years, and have good reason to spend the considerable time and effort required to identify the local parcels marked and listed (poorly) on the Geocommunicator website.  I am concerned that most citizens will believe the false descriptions, trust the agency charged with preservation of their wildland heritage, and think they are losing nothing of value.  That conclusion would be wrong – and would result in another egregious violation of the public trust by the Bush adminstration.
In summary, I urge you to abandon this bizarre and ill-advised plan and remove all 304,370 acres from consideration for sale.
In particular, I object to sale of the following parcels within Roosevelt National Forest, T1SR72W, Sections 15, 19, 20, 21 and 40.
Kathryn J. Teuber
28 Frontier Lane
Magnolia Star Route
Nederland, CO  80466