20 Jun 2010, 3:33pm
Latest Forest News
by admin

Buffalo Gap Wilderness Bill Hits Multiple Snags

By Tom Lawrence, the Jamestown Sun, June 18, 2010 [here]

A proposal to designate a portion of the Buffalo Gap National Grassland as protected wilderness land, authored by Sen. Tim Johnson, moved ahead [backwards, actually] Wednesday.

A bill to designate the land, which is already owned by the federal government, was discussed in a Senate subcommittee. It continues to draw fire from the state’s top Republican officials, West River county officials and agricultural groups in the state.

Johnson’s bill, the Tony Dean Cheyenne River Valley Conservation Act of 2010, was discussed in a Senate Public Lands and Forest Subcommittee hearing Wednesday. The subcommittee heard from several witnesses, including three South Dakota ranchers. The Obama administration supports the legislation, which would need the president’s signature to become law. …

Sen. John Thune, Gov. Mike Rounds and Lt. Gov. and Republican gubernatorial candidate Dennis Daugaard oppose the designation, as do several other political bodies and private entities.

Thune said opponents of the bill have used a multiple-use approach on the land that “has been very effective and very successful.” He said he has listened to both sides and is struck by the number of opponents to the designation.

“You need to have support of the stakeholders,” he said on a Wednesday conference call with reporters, noting that 80 percent of the permit holders and both houses of the state Legislature are opposed.

“Frankly, a lot of the support comes from groups outside of South Dakota,” Thune said. …

[O]pponents to the wilderness designation include the Pennington County Commission, Custer County Commission, Fall River County Commission, Meade County Commission, Black Hills Badlands and Lakes Association of South Dakota, Western Dakota Gem and Mineral Society, Blue Ribbon Coalition, Black Hills Regional Multiple Use Coalition, Association of National Grasslands, Black Hills ATV/UTV Riders Club, Black Hills Forest Resource Association, Black Hills 4 Wheelers Rapid City chapter, Black Hills Snowmobile Club, Black Hills Women In Timber, Cottonwood Grazing Association, Dakota Territory Cruisers, Hill City Chamber of Commerce, Off-Road Riders Association, Pioneer Co-op Grazing District, South Dakota Farm Bureau, South Dakota Grasslands Coalition, South Dakota Off Highway Vehicle Coalition, South Dakota Public Lands Council, South Dakota Snowmobile Association, South Dakota Stockgrowers, South Dakota Family Farms Association, South Dakota Trail Riders, Spearfish Livestock Association and the Western South Dakota Fur Harvesters. … [more]

Note: Thanks for the news tip to Julie Kay Smithson, Property Rights Research [here, here]



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