WASHINGTON - Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., has won Senate support for a plan putting land trades and development deals involving federal property in the Carson Valley under the Bureau of Land Management's control.
The measure was approved late Friday as Congress was wrapping up the year's business.
"This is the first concrete step in ensuring that Douglas County has the necessary tools to preserve open space in the Carson Valley," said Bryan.
The problem was that bureau and U.S. Forest Service regions meet at Highway 395 on the floor of the Carson Valley. Because some of the private land would be in forest service jurisdiction but bureau handles the land exchange program, some landowners wishing to make a trade or to sell development rights on their land would have to deal with bureaucracies in both of those federal agencies to get approval. The legislation moves the boundary of the Toiyabe National Forest back to the west from Highway 395 up the mountain slope past Foothill Road, leaving everything in the valley within the bureau's jurisdiction.
"This adjusts the boundary of the national forest so that all the private land holders in the area, during the exchange, only have to deal with the BLM," said Bryan's press secretary Dave Lemmon.
If the House also approves the plan, the bureau will be able to handle land exchanges, sales of development rights and other such deals to preserve open space in the area without involving the forest service.
Bryan said that will make it easier for land owners interested in preserving part of their property as open space.
"This is very significant," said Lemmon. "Without this legislation, it would make the exchanges much more difficult."
He said he doesn't expect any problems getting the plan through the House of Representatives.