A congressionally mandated land exchange that was signed into law a decade ago is one huge step closer to being realized. The U.S. Forest Service has recently received new appraised values for the properties involved in the trade – land owned by the federal government in Government Camp and property owned by Mt. Hood Meadows in the Cooper Spur area on the north side of Mt. Hood.
The “Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009” was signed into law by President Obama authorizing the exchange of lands. The “Mount Hood Cooper Spur Land Exchange Clarification Act” signed by President Trump in 2018 reiterated the 2009 congressional mandate for the Forest Service to complete the exchange and added clarifications to make the land trade possible.
Meadows Chairman and CEO Matthew Drake is encouraged, explaining, “These new appraisals are essential to executing this historic exchange which will realize the best uses for each of the land parcels - centralizing development on Mt. Hood in Government Camp, and placing the Crystal Springs watershed lands into public trust. We have reviewed the appraisals which are very thorough. While there are some areas that we question, in the spirit of supporting the federal land exchange process administrated by the U. S. Forest Service, Mt. Hood Meadows Oreg., LLC has approved these appraisals and their results.
We look forward to working with the U.S. Forest Service and other constituents to successfully complete the exchange in alignment with the two acts of Congress, Federal law, and consistent with the public interest.”
Drake reflected on the historic significance of the exchange, saying, “Mt. Hood is an Oregon icon. As directed by the U.S. Congress, this land exchange implements a balance between protecting sensitive lands on the north side of the mountain while providing opportunities for improved and sustainable public recreational services on both the south and north sides of the mountain.
“We respect and appreciate the bi-partisan work of the Oregon Congressional Delegation, and the dedicated efforts of the U.S. Forest Service to implement the federal process that is in the best interest of the public to make this historic land exchange a reality.”