Proposed land swap with the BLM and Agua Caliente Indians

General Palm Springs area.

Proposed land swap with the BLM and Agua Caliente Indians

Postby pkirkham » Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:15 pm

I just got an email from the BLM, containing a "PRESS RELEASE" and other letters etc. dated 1.25.18, about the proposed land swap between the BLM and the Agua Caliente Indians in Palm Springs. I think this first surfaced, if my memory serves me correct, about 2-3 years ago. Some of the affected parcels looked like they may affect future access to the bottom/north end of Palm Canyon and parts of the lower section of Skyline. Now, without seeing any of the revised maps, I may be overstepping my mark here but I think this is a very important concern for all trail user groups.
I emailed the lady at the BLM office to see if they had a link to the affected exchange parcels so I could understand the whole 'swap-thing' more clearly. I'm not sure if anybody else in the forum has received this same email but I think it's gonna be really important for everyone who uses the trails in the desert around Palm springs to ensure continued access to those areas.
Here's a link you can use to see the release but the 'map' link won't work on my browser??

https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-off ... e880f06895

Anybody else got any input/thoughts on this??
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Re: Proposed land swap with the BLM and Agua Caliente Indian

Postby Viper » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:31 pm

Based on my review, it appears that BLM has listened to public concerns over the transfer of parcels that include lower Skyline and Palm Canyon Epic. These parcels will not be transferred to the Tribe. The maps are viewable if you click on the "Documents" link in the sidebar of the link that you posted. Check out Figure 21 at the end of the Record of Decision and Fig. 5b of the draft EIS (which actually shows the trails). In the Record of Decision, scroll to "Federal lands excluded from the exchange" to see for yourself that the relevant parcels will not be transferred. It's also explained in the Final EIS (search for "moot" to locate some of the relevant responses to public comments about Skyline and Palm Canyon Epic.) There are also some interesting statements about the future of Skyline (essentially that nothing is guaranteed) and about the uniqueness of Cactus-to-Clouds. I don't take interpret anything in the Final EIS or ROD to suggest any imminent threat to Skyline. In fact, BLM appears to recognize the importance of Skyline to the public.

So this appears to be a good development.
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Re: Proposed land swap with the BLM and Agua Caliente Indian

Postby Wildhorse » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:20 pm

I have not yet been able to open the files provided by BLM. I have heard that Skyline and Garstin are not given away. The total acreage given up is much less than the BLM tried to give away initially. BLM did receive important land for preservation in exchange. Until I read the documents I can't be sure, but the info I have so far indicates that the final exchange is probably good from a trail user perspective and ecological perspective. I am hoping to read the files tomorrow and hoping that it is indeed good news. If so, this is a great relief after a hard battle.
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Re: Proposed land swap with the BLM and Agua Caliente Indian

Postby cynthia23 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:21 pm

Thanks for posting this pkirkham. I also received something in my email. It does appear that FOR NOW the trails are safe. I'll wait until I hear the final take from Wildhorse, though. :)
Q: How many therapists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Only one, but the light bulb has to want to change ...
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Re: Proposed land swap with the BLM and Agua Caliente Indian

Postby Wildhorse » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:29 am

The map in figure 2f of the EIS indicates that the modified exchange approved by BLM is likely a good exchange. The public receives land that could have been developed and the tribe receives land in the heart of its other holdings. The land containing Garstin, Thielman and part of Skyline appear to remain in public ownership. Another area that contains a waterway remains in public hands. That waterway is at the south end of Potrero.

I have not yet read the final EIS, but it needs to be read. There may still be adverse impacts, including enabling the development of more land outside of the monument.

Other exchanges may be proposed. BLM misrepresented this one to the public and ignored laws and public interests to push it through. All we can do is continue to keep watch.

Meanwhile, I think we can feel relieved at this outcome and even dare to believe this outcome is very good for now.
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Re: Proposed land swap with the BLM and Agua Caliente Indian

Postby evan s » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:42 pm

Agreed, the land swap looks ok for now. Here is a map of parcels affected:

https://caltopo.com/m/7930

I still don't understand how four parcels going to the tribe can be of equal value to the two going to BLM. Correct that - less value, as BLM has to pay the tribe $50,000 to equalize the value.
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Re: Proposed land swap with the BLM and Agua Caliente Indian

Postby Wildhorse » Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:11 am

The two square miles are probably considered more developable because of topography and location and worth more because of that.

But suspicions remain valid. BLM has a bad reputation for enriching others at public expense in its land deals. This deal began illegally in a private meeting and the following process was loaded with deception of the public. Maybe in the end, fairness prevailed. Or maybe something untold is still happening out of public view that is bad. Only time will tell.
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