Congressman Gosar Introduces the Bipartisan Cottonwood Land Exchange Act

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Washington, January 8, 2019 | comments

Congressman Gosar Introduces the Bipartisan Cottonwood Land Exchange Act

For Immediate Release:
Date:
 Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Contact: Melissa Brown | Melissa.Brown@mail.house.gov

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after introducing H.R. 274, the Cottonwood Land Exchange Act, at the request of Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, in order to facilitate a land exchange between the County and Coconino National Forest near Cottonwood, Arizona for the purposes of connecting separated tracts and consolidating land:

“The Cottonwood Land Exchange Act is common sense legislation that will benefit local communities and families in Cornville by allowing for expansion of Windmill Park,” said Congressman Gosar. “The consolidation of the multiple checkerboards of land will yield significant benefits to the people of Arizona. This legislation is result of years of collaboration between Yavapai County officials, community members and the Forest Service.”

Yavapai County Supervisor Tom Thurman stated: “I applaud Congressman Paul Gosar and Senator Martha McSally for their support and reintroduction of the Cottonwood Land Exchange Act. He appreciates the support of the original co-sponsors Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02), Debbie Lesko (AZ-08), David Schweikert (AZ-06), and Greg Stanton (AZ-09) and commends them on their leadership. County officials, along with the City of Cottonwood and Cornville Community Association, have hoped and planned for over a decade to expand a popular County Park by acquiring an isolated 80-acre parcel of National Forest Land in the heart of Cornville. The proposed exchange is an ideal solution for both the Forest Service and Yavapai County, to expand Windmill County Park, streamline land and resource management for both entities; and expand protection of the Arizona Cliffrose by adding 369 acres to the Coconino National Forest and serve as an open space backdrop for the City of Cottonwood. There are no appropriated funds involved; and the exchange is a win/win for the entire Verde Valley. While it was disappointing to learn it didn’t make it in the last Congress we are inspired by the potential to get it through this time!”

Randall Garrison, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Yavapai County, Arizona stated: “The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors wishes to thank Congressman Gosar, who authored the Bill, as well as Senator McSally and the entire Arizona Delegation, for their leadership and pursuit of common sense and Public good will. The ‘Cottonwood Land Exchange Act’ will support Yavapai County’s goal in returning the use of public land back to those we serve, while also protecting our natural and archeological resources, which can only improve the lives of our residents, now and into the future. Your support is greatly appreciated.”

Background:

The text of the bill can be found HERE

The map of this land exchange can be found HERE.

Original cosponsors of Congressman Gosar’s legislation include: Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02),Debbie Lesko (AZ-08), David Schweikert (AZ-06), Greg Stanton (AZ-09) Ruben Gallego (AZ-07) and Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01).

U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.

This straightforward legislation conveys 80 acres of Coconino National Forest land to Yavapai County in exchange for 369 acres of County land being conveyed to the Forest Service. The isolated National Forest land is an 80 acre island parcel not contiguous or adjacent to any other Forest or state land that is surrounded completely by private or county land. The 369 acres of county land which the Coconino National Forest would add value to the Forest Service system by connecting separated tracts of land already under stewardship of the Forest Service and provide greater protections for the Arizona Cliff Rose, an endangered species. The County has expressed that it would like to maximize use of Windmill Park and make it easier for visitors to access by making significant improvements include adding a walking bridge, adding a new trail and expanding the park. As clearly outlined in the bill, the County has agreed to pay for the required land surveys, appraisals, and any other costs necessary to complete the exchange.

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