SUMMIT COUNTY " A U.S. Forest Service proposal to sell of parcels of hard-to-manage federal land is "tragically short-sighted," according to a letter from Frisco Mayor Bernie Zurbriggen to agency chief Dale Bosworth.
The letter, to be submitted to the Forest Service as formal input on the plan, explains that the "economy, our culture and our quality of life depend on the protection and preservation of USDA Forest Service land" in Summit County.
The plan was floated by Department of Agriculture officials a few weeks ago as a way of generating revenue to fund rural schools and states that have been hit the hardest by federal logging cutbacks. Some rural communities dependent on those funds supported the issue, while other communities and conservation groups have said it sets a bad precedent for stop-gap budget fixes.
The Board of County Commissioners also adopted a resolution Tuesday, expressing a similar view. Both the town and the county said the Forest Service should consider land swaps when they identify lands for disposal to ensure there is no net loss of public lands.
The Breckenridge Town Council may consider a similar resolution next week. Spokesperson Kim DiLallo said she didn't expect unanimous support for the measure.
Three parcels of land, totaling 280 acres, in Summit County are on the list, all in the Lower Blue. The 40-acre Martin Creek parcel is completely surrounded by the Shadow Creek Ranch. The 160-acre Elliot Creek parcel appears to be bounded on three sides by the Lazy Shamrock Ranch, while the 80-acre Acorn Creek parcel is completely surrounded by private land, held by a variety of owners, according to Paul Semmer, lands specialist for the U.S. Forest Service Dillon District.
Semmer said one of the maps showing sale parcels is incorrect, in that it identifies two parcels in the vicinity of Acorn Creek, while the official list only IDs one piece.
Congress will have the final say over the plan as it considers the Forest Service budget. The agency is taking comment through March 27. To comment, find maps and lists of the land, go to www.fs.fed.us.