Monday, June 02, 2014

Sandia land swap very close

It was more than a decade in the making, but a land swap between the U.S. Forest Service and Sandia Pueblo is about to conclude, awaiting only a signature from President Barack Obama. As a result, a roughly 700-acre parcel of land on the west face of the Sandia Mountains and located near Placitas, will be signed over to Sandia Pueblo. In turn, the pueblo will exchange about 160 acres of land along the Piedra Lisa Trail, which the Forest Service will maintain as a conservation easement, as well as a 70-acre parcel called the La Luz Tract that butts up to the La Luz Trail. Under the terms of the federal legislation, none of the lands in the swap may be developed, said Dominic Gabello, chief of staff for Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., primary sponsor of the Sandia Pueblo Settlement Technical Amendment Act, which passed the House on Wednesday.The legislation amends the 2003 T'uf Shur Bien Preservation Trust Area Act, enacted into law more 11 years ago to resolve Sandia Pueblo's long-standing claim to 10,000 acres on the west face of the Sandia Mountains. That act allowed for the pueblo to continue using the land for religious purposes and gave it control over some future uses, while title of the land remained with the federal government. It also required the Forest Service to consider the land exchange, which lies outside the preservation trust area...more

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