This bill — the Big Bear Land Exchange Act — would direct the Forest Service, at the request of San Bernardino County, California, to exchange 73 acres of federal lands in the San Bernardino National Forest for 71 acres of lands owned by the county. It would also direct the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to relocate a portion of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail that is currently located on the federal lands to be exchanged. The bill would require the county to pay for any administrative costs, surveys, appraisals, and other costs associated with the land exchange.
What is House Bill H.R. 255?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 255
In-Depth: Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to transfer 73 acres of federal land to San Bernardino County in exchange of 71 acres of land owned by the county, enabling the county to build a new industrial recycling and storage park to handle timber processing and recycling. After this bill passed the House last Congress, Rep. Cook said:
"I’m thrilled that the House passed the Big Bear Land Exchange this afternoon. I’ve worked closely with our local governments to ensure this land exchange is done correctly and that all the stakeholders have their concerns resolved. This will alleviate traffic and make mountain roads in the area safer. I look forward to this bill becoming law.”
Indivisible Morongo Basin, a resource to help individuals and groups in the Morongo Basin “respond to the Trump agenda and radical Republican legislation,” opposes the land exchange proposed in this bill. It argues that the exchange of lands will force the rerouting of the Pacific Crest Trail and decrease public lands’ availability “for other purposes.”
There are no cosponsors of this bill in the current Congress. Last Congress, this bill passed the House unanimously with an amendment by unanimous vote. There were no cosponsors of this bill, but the land exchange proposal had strong local support in San Bernardino County from The City of Big Bear Lake, Friends of Big Bear Valley, the Big Bear Fire Department, and others.
Of Note: San Bernardino County, in southeast California, currently has ownership of approximately 71 acres of inheld land within the San Bernardino Forest northeast of Big Bear City. It has proposed to convey this land to the USFS in exchange for 73 acres of USFS land further north, where it’d work with a contracting company to build an industrial recycling and storage park in a safe and remote site further away from the city and closer to the trees being processed.
Currently, trees and other materials from the San Bernardino Forest are driven down the mountain through a narrow and winding pass to a processing facility in the valley, resulting in multiple traffic accidents yearly. The new processing facility would also allow San Bernardino County to locally process materials, ranging from concrete to dead trees, that currently have to be hauled down the mountain. This would significantly reduce traffic on the roads up and down the mountains, making the mountain roads safer for those who live in and visit the San Bernardino Forest and reducing wear and tear on the roads.
- Sponsoring Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA) Press Release (115th Congress)
- CBO Cost Estimate (115th Congress)
- Indivisible Morongo Basin (Opposed)
- House Natural Resources Committee Mark-Up Memorandum
Summary by Lorelei Yang
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Angel La Canfora)
Big Bear Land Exchange Act
To provide for an exchange of lands with San Bernardino County, California, to enhance management of lands within the San Bernardino National Forest, and for other purposes.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
- senate Committees
- The house has not voted
National Parks, Forests, and Public LandsCommittee on Natural ResourcesIntroducedJanuary 4th, 2019
- house Committees