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Permission Sought for a Land Swap
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21 July 2018   David McAtee

Yavapai County Requests Permission from Congress to Swap Land

Yavapai County Board of Supervisor, Vice-Chairman Randy Garrison, traveled to Washington DC this past weekend in order to testify before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands. On Tuesday, July 17, 2018, Supervisor Garrison will get the opportunity to testify in support of H.R. 4473, the “Cottonwood Land Exchange Act.”

Supervisor Garrison said, “We appreciate Congressman Gosar’s efforts championing this legislation. The Proposed legislation would create a mutually beneficial exchange of 369 acres of County property that is contiguous to Coconino National Forest Lands in exchange for 80 acres of Forest Service property located in the heart of the community of Cornville, which is surrounded by County and private land.” Yavapai County Board of Supervisor Thomas Thurman and former Yavapai County Board of Supervisors Chip Davis have been working on this exchange for nearly 15 years.

The selected National Forest land is 80 acres adjacent to Yavapai County’s Windmill Park in the Community of Cornville. The area has been identified for park expansion and other public purposes in the Cornville Community Plan, adopted by Yavapai County on May 6, 2005. The offered land, owned by Yavapai County, includes 369 acres of land adjacent to Coconino National Forest purchased from the Arizona State Land Department in 2003 to mitigate the impacts of the Mingus Avenue Extension road project on the endangered Arizona Cliffrose.

The Mingus Avenue Extension was a Yavapai County and City of Cottonwood joint project that constructed a new two-lane roadway approximately 2 miles in length. This road extended the existing Mingus Avenue from Main Street in Cottonwood to the intersection of State Route 89A and Cornville Road. The area that was selected for the new road was populated by an endangered species of plant, the Arizona Cliffrose. In order to protect this endangered species, Yavapai County was required to purchase additional land that also had the Arizona Cliffrose to ensure its protection. If this land exchange is approved the purchased land will transfer to the Coconino National Forest Service.

For Yavapai County, this exchange would allow us to expand the recreational development of our Windmill Park and meet Cornville Community needs while continuing to protect and preserve Oak Creek and associated riparian values. Yavapai County would also be positioned to secure and preserve an archeological site that is an object of great public interest and currently receives no protection. Lastly, for Yavapai County, this exchange would provide our citizens with a missing link for a statewide trail system that currently has been stymied by public access over Oak Creek and other land locks.

Supervisor Garrison thanked the committee and concluded by saying, “I would like to close by stating that 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.”

The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors wishes to thank Congressman Gosar, who authored the Senate Bill, as well as the entire Arizona Delegation, for their leadership and pursuit of common sense and public goodwill.