STATEMENT OF SUE MASICA, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF PARK PLANNING, FACILIITES AND LANDS, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES CONCERNING S. 612 and H.R.788, TO REVISE THE BOUNDARY OF THE GLEN CANYON NATIONAL RECREATION AREA IN THE STATES OF UTAH AND ARIZONA.
May 13, 2003
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interior's views on S.612 and H.R. 788. These bills would revise the boundary of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in the States of Utah and Arizona.
The Department supports S.612 and the companion House legislation H.R. 788. The legislation would amend Public Law 92-593 and give the Secretary of the Interior the authority, through an exchange, to change the boundary of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area ("Park") by adding approximately 152 acres and deleting 370 acres in Kane County, Utah. The current owner of the private property to be exchanged, Page One, LLC. ("Page One"), initiated this proposal and although the National Park Service ("Service") has not yet appraised the parcels involved, the owner's appraisal indicates that the Service will receive lands with a higher value than those the Service would exchange, which should remove the need for any land acquisition funds.
The bills would also revise the authorized acreage of the park from 1,236,880 acres to 1,256,000 acres. This change would correct the total acreage within the park boundary that was incorrectly identified in the park's enabling legislation. Correction of the authorized acreage ceiling would not add any new facilities, increase operating costs, or require additional staffing.
Since House passage of the H.R. 788 last March, we have learned through additional surveys, conducted by Page One, that the Page One exchange parcel identified as the Shoppman Land Exchange Parcel on the map entitled 'Page One Land Exchange Proposal' number 608/60573a-2002 dated May 16, 2002 is closer to 122 acres than 152 acres. The acres that the Service would acquire are located east of Highway 89, approximately 5 miles south of Big Water, Utah and are contiguous to the existing park boundary. Both the Page One and Park exchange parcels are accurately reflected on the map. The lands that the Service would be authorized to exchange are located west of Highway 89 and are adjacent to privately owned lands. Although within the boundary of the recreation area, the 370 acres are physically and visually isolated from the rest of the recreation area by topographic features.
Page One, the owner of the private land has had an appraisal completed on the lands that are proposed for exchange. If this legislation is enacted, the Service would conduct its own appraisal on the two parcels. However, the owner's appraisal determined that their parcel ($5,500 per acre for a total appraised value of $671,000), which the Service would receive, was worth approximately two and one half times more then the appraised value of the land within the NRA Land Exchange Parcel identified on the map ($750 per acre for a total appraised value of $277,500).
S. 612 and H.R. 788 would also correct the acreage ceiling error stated in Public Law 92-593, the 1972 enabling legislation for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Public Law 92-593 incorrectly estimated Glen Canyon National Recreation Area's acreage within the boundary to be 1,236,880 acres. Using the same boundary identified on the map referenced in the 1972 enabling legislation, application of modern map reading and geographic information system technologies have determined that 1,256,000 acres more accurately reflects the amount of land within the 1972 boundary.
S. 612 and H.R. 788 enjoy a broad cross section of support. The nearest communities to the lands proposed for exchange, Big Water, Utah and Page, Arizona, recognize the importance of protecting the National Recreation Area. Also, this exchange would provide an opportunity for private development at one of the main access points to lands held by the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration ("SITLA"). Such private development could enhance the 40,000 acres held by SITLA and is supported by the State of Utah and Kane County, Utah.
As the House has passed H.R. 788 and the legislation is identical to S. 612 we would recommend passage of H.R. 788, in order to move this legislation expediently.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared remarks. I would be pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the subcommittee may have.