Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hikers Try to Stop Agua Caliente-BLM Land Swap

Reported by: Marissa Mike
11/03 10:48 pm
Many valley hikers weren't happy with a potential land exchange by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and Bureau of Land Management. They expressed concern at the Palm Springs City Council Meeting on Wednesday night.

"We're outraged and very disappointed," Donna Genett, an avid hiker said. "We're doing everything we can to stop this from happening."

Right now, the BLM and the tribe have worked out the details of the swap.

The areas they own, within the Indian Canyons and the San Jacinto Mountains, looked like a checkerboard.

Tom Davis, the Chief Planning and Development Officer of the tribe, said the move would make it easier to manage the land.

The tribe would follow the same management polices of the BLM, Davis added.

The BLM had the option to develop the land, but did not. Some hikers thought there was a good chance the tribe would develop the land, which could mean fewer areas for hiking.

"It's not likely we'll develop on the land," Davis said.

Hikers expressed concerns about trail restrictions and potential fees.

When asked if there was a possibility that the tribe would charge fees ever, Davis said, "I can't say that."

The BLM was accepting public comments until November 19.

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