The U.S. Forest Service has opened a public comment period on its proposal to sell public land to provide funding for rural schools. The sales will fund the reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000, also known as the county payments bill.
Authorized in 2000 for six years, the funding program for rural schools enjoyed strong bipartisan support and was expected to be easily renewal for five more years with strong bipartisan support. Then the president announced a plan last month to raise the revenue for the county payments bill by selling off 300,000 acres of national forestland — 80,000 acres in California, including land in the Tahoe, El Dorado, Stanislaus, Sierra, Lassen, Shasta and Trinity forests. If the 2000 legislation were not renewed, the 38 California counties receiving federal subsidies would lose more than $57 million in funding for their schools.
Detailed maps of each parcel can now be found on the Forest Service Web site at www.fs.fed.us. All of the parcels are considered isolated or inefficient to manage due to their location or other characteristics, according to a Forest Service statement.
Comments on the proposed list must be received by March 30 and may be sent by e-mail to SRS_Land_Sales@fs.fed.us
Written comments may be sent to: USDA Forest Service, SRS Comments, Lands 4S, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Mailstop 1124, Washington, DC, 20250-0003.
Send faxed comments to (202) 205-1604.