Big thanks to our Oregon congressional delegation for recent progress on the Mt. Hood Land Exchange Clarification Act. The “Fix It” bill has passed the House and its Senate committee and is now ready for a vote of the full Senate. The legislation streamlines the land trade. With all the rancor in Washington, its good to see a bi-partisan contingent of Oregon legislators working together for the good of Oregon. We extend our thanks to our representatives for sticking with this project which will provide lasting benefits to our community. We agree with Rep. Walden who said during a speech on the House floor “We are nearly eight years later and this is still languishing and unfortunately we’re back, trying again because we’re never going to quit until we’re done, and we’re getting much closer.”
The Mount Hood Land Trade (aka the Government Camp-Cooper Spur Land Exchange) is Hood River Valley Residents Committee’s longest running project. It started fifteen years ago when Mt. Hood Meadows tried to locate a giant destination resort with hundreds of condos, shopping malls, restaurants and golf courses just outside Kate McCarthy’s Parkdale backdoor. The controversial proposal galvanized her, HRVRC, conservation groups and the local community in opposition.
From this rancorous beginning, a grand solution emerged. Through citizen action, hard work and collaboration between HRVRC, Mt. Hood Meadows, Hood River and Clackamas counties, Oregon’s congressional delegation, and a myriad of conservation groups including the 13 member groups of Cooper Spur Wild and Free, all of the parties cobbled together a land exchange that would permanently protect the north side of Mount Hood. The deal was codified by an Act of Congress in 2009. Mt. Hood Meadows would give up its 770 acres on the north side of the mountain in exchange for 120 acres of developable land in Government Camp owned by the US Forest Service. The trade would also give Wilderness designation to thousands of pristine backcountry acres around the historic Tilly Jane trail and protect Hood River’s drinking water in the Crystal Springs Watershed.
See this map of the trade properties.
But the 2009 Act was not the end of the story. Completing the trade between the Forest Service and Mt. Hood Meadows has been frustratingly slow—seven years and counting. We are nearing the end game, but the trade is far from done. It still needs your support.
The US Forest Service has issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the trade which evaluates the environmental, social and economic effects of the proposed land exchange. Please consider sending a comment letter in support of the trade to the Forest Service by the January 26 deadline.
Send comments to:
RE: Government Camp – Cooper Spur Land Exchange
Mt. Hood National Forest Supervisor
16400 Champion Way, Sandy, OR 97055
Here is a Sample DEIS letter to send the Forest Service.