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WLP News No 25

WLP News No 25

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Western LandsUpdate
Western Lands Project Seattle, Washington
Fall 2008     Research, Outreach, and Advocacy to Keep Public Lands Public Vol. 12, No. 2
S
ubscribers to our e-news alerts will have recently seen an edition describing a proposal to par-tially privatize the Jeerson National ExpansionMemorial, or Gateway Arch, in St. Louis (“YourVoice is Needed to Protect a Public Icon,” linkprovided at end o this article). The DanorthFoundation, whose trustees include retired SenatorJack Danorth, has been ormulating plans to revital-ize the riverront in St. Louis and has targeted theMemorial as an obstacle. The Memorial, completedin 1965, marks the old St. Louis town site, rom whichmany pioneers (including Lewis & Clark) headedwest. The site acquired National Historic Landmarkstatus in 1987.The Memorial’s dominant eature is the 630-oot-high, stainless steel Gateway Arch, designed by EeroSaarinen. Saarinen and landscape architect DanKiley eliminated several structures originally plannedin order that the Arch would rise rom an “urbanorest.” In line with the vision o its creators, theMuseum o Westward Expansion was built under-ground, beneath the Arch. Disregarding this originaldesign, Danorth believes the site should be devel-oped to accommodate an above-ground museum,as well as possible restaurants or other “amenities.”The Foundation has gotten a bill introduced in theHouse that would give its hand-picked group o trustees jurisdiction over the management o “oneor more parcels” i.e., some or allo the Memo-rial grounds. To make way or development, the leg-islation also downgrades the landmark status o thegrounds.The Danorth Foundation recently announced that losses in the stock market may cause it to withdrawthe $50 million it had pledged toward development o the site, but a ew inuential St. Louis booster
A public icon faces a privatization threat 
types still avor the legislation and revitalizationscheme. Western Lands has joined the NationalParks Conservation Association and the Coalition o National Park Service Retirees in opposing privatiza-tion o the site.Meanwhile, the Park Service is updating its GeneralManagement Plan or the site to attempt to improvethe connection between downtown St. Louis and theMemorialsomething that is needed, at minimum,or pedestrian saety. To ensure that the integrity o the Memorial is maintained in these plans, the ParkService needs to hear rom people outside o St.Louis that this is our public land, too, and that wedo not want to see the site privatized, commercial-ized, or intensively developed. Even a brie comment can help! Submit comments here: http://tinyurl.com/5mqsmg. You can review our recent alert, whichhas inormative and useul links, at http://tinyurl.com/5ugbn2
Gateway Arch, St. Louis     Credit: Western Lands Project 
 
Recent projects
W
e review, comment on, and chal-lenge land sales and exchanges acrosspublic lands throughout the West.We are currently monitoring over 90projectsranging rom a proposal by theU.S. Marines to take over 72,000 acres o public land or military training, to a Forest Service proposal to sell 0.9 acres. Otherprojects currently being monitored include:
Arvada Land Sale, Utah:
This project wouldsell 118 acres o public land and would relo-cate threatened desert tortoises to a Bureauo Land Management Area o Critical Envi-ronmental Concern. We are challengingthe planned continuation o grazing in theACEC ater tortoises are placed there.
Coy Flat Land Exchange, Caliornia:
summer home association in the Giant Sequoia National Monument proposes totrade 97 acres in three parcels to the Forest Service in exchange or 65 acres.
Campbell Land Exchange, Oregon
: A Port-land veterinarian, Dr. Scott Campbell, haspurchased a 1,000-acre private inholdingon Steens Mountain in southeast Oregonwith the intention o trading it to the BLMor some 11,000 acres in the Silvies Valley,north o Burns. Western Lands obtainedthe project fle under the Freedom o Inormation Act, and documents show that the public land Campbell covets comprisescritical wildlie habitatincluding wetlandand riparian areas that were consolidatedin public ownership through past landtrades. The proposal is so bad that the BLMreuses to advance it. Campbell is seeking acongressional sponsor or his exchange.
Santa Teresa Land Exchange, New Mexico:
This project would trade approximately 7300 acres o BLM-managed land or morethan 12,800 acres o New Mexico StateTrust lands. BLM is seeking this exchangeto acquire lesser prairie-chicken andsand dune lizard habitat in southern NewMexico, while the New Mexico State LandOfce intends to sell the lands it wouldacquire – much o it near the outskirts o communities. We are analyzing the environ-mental assessment prepared or this pro-posed trade.
Grizzly Land Exchange, South Dakota:
Approximately 450 acres o Black HillsNational Forest land would be exchangedor 227 acres owned by Homestake MiningCompany. Homestake claims the land it would acquire would be used as a buer ormining reclamation work.
Land Deal Scandals not Greek to us!
It turns out America doesn’t have a monop-oly on shady land deals ater all. This all,a scandal erupted in Greece involving over260 suspicious land deals conducted since1999. With all the elements o a made-or-TV drama high stakes, a wealthy andsecretive monastery, and corrupt publicofcials this land deal scandal makesthose o the U.S. downright boring.At the center o this controversy is theAbbot o the Vatopedi monastery, a 1,000year old, all-male monastery associated withthe Greek Orthodox Church. The Abbot is accused o swindling the Greek peopleout o an estimated $136 million by tradingcheap waterront property owned by themonastery in exchange or valuable publiclands. Allegedly, he had the help o com-plicit government ofcials.Although the latest land deals were can-celed once suspicions were raised, theinvestigation is ongoing. So ar, the govern-ment has admitted that these deals werenot in the public interest, and two nationalministers have resigned amidst the scandal.To read more about this Greek scandal,check out the
New York Times 
article:http://tinyurl.com/5jtatr
We now oerour two publica-tions or ree indownloadablePDF fles. Con-tact us at ino@westernlands.org to request one orboth.
 “Commons or Commodity? The Dilemma o Federal Land Exchanges” by George Draan & Janine Blaeloch “The Citizens’ Guide to Federal Land Exchanges: A Manual or Public Lands Advocates” by Janine Blaeloch 
 
Western Lands Update           2   Fall 2008
 
A
 
ew weeks ago we received a call romPaul Haag, a schoolteacheractually,THE schoolteacher, principal, andschool janitorin Edna Bay, Alaska.Edna Bay is a community o about 30amilies, and one o only two towns onKosciusko Island in southeast Alaska.Paul was calling on behal o the commu-nity to get some advice on how to deal witha piece o legislation, S. 3651, that couldsignifcantly impact their daily lie. TheSealaska Corporation, one o the nativecorporations created under the AlaskaNative Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA),has a bill in Congress that would allowthe corporation to take over about 30,000acres o the Tongass National Forest on theisland. ANCSA was passed in 1971 with thepurpose o resolving aboriginal land claimsin Alaska. The Edna Bay community doesnot dispute the legitimacy o Sealaska’srights under ANCSA or its wish to fnal-ize its statusbut the lands on KosciuskoIsland are not within the selection areaapproved under ANCSA (hence the speciallegislation). The community is extremely isolated and dependent upon subsistenceuses o the Tongass National Forest, so losso access to the orest could be devastat-ing. The confguration o Sealaska’s claimwould block almost all access by Edna Bay residents to the remaining public lands onthe island.Native claims are not within our usual issuearea, but we did try to shorten the commu-nity’s learning curve or getting its concernsto Congress by way o the appropriate com-mittees and potentially helpul Members.You can see a beautiul photo o Edna Bay on the town’s homepage at http://edna-bayalaska.net/. There is also a map that shows the huge ootprint o Sealaska’s pro-posed claim on Kosciusko Island.
Alaska community wants to keep forest in public hands
The preponderance of land trades and sales occursin the western states & Alaska, where vast public holdings remain.
State %  Government Owned
Alaska 66.7%Arizona 50.2%California 46.9%Colorado 34.9%Idaho 66.4%Montana 31.3%Nevada 91.9%New Mexico 34.1%Oregon 49.7%Utah 66.5%Washington 31.0%Wyoming 50.6%
Source: Federal Real Property Profle 2003, GSA 
Federal land in the West & Alaska
The beach outside Edna Bay’s school. Credit: Paul Haag 
Western Lands Update           3   Fall 2008

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