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Thread: How do communities in natural parks grow/expand?

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    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    How do communities in natural parks grow/expand?

    Take for example Payson AZ. It is entirely set in a national forest. If someone wanted to build a subdivision in the town or similar, how do they do it? Does the federal government regularly sell their land?

    http://maps.google.com/?ll=34.273957...76375&t=m&z=12
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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Although shown as a solid block on Google Maps, there are likely to be many private holdings within the forest. There are instances when USFS, BLM, or other lands are made available for sale, but that is not generally the purpose of these agencies. The lands are instead managed for timber, grazing, recreation, preservation, etc. Yes, this does create conflict in some cases. By the same token, it is often the preservation of these resources (even to make timber or mineral rights available to companies) that provides significant economic benefits to neighboring communities.
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    Cyburbian
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    Correct me if I'm wrong but as I understand it, there would just be another layer of planning bureaucracy. So the development would have to be approved by both the city and the federal agency with jurisdiction over the area. Also these agencies often lease the land rather than out right sell it.

    National parks are different in that most of the private structures in the park were likely grandfathered in. There's often no new private development. Smokey Mountains may be the exception though since it encompassed so many preexisting towns.

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    Cyburbian
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    This is a huge issue in Banff, Alberta (Canada's first national park). IIRC there are strict restrictions on who is allowed to live there, i.e. you need to be employed in the town to be able to have an apartment or home in Banff. Presumably this eliminates the need for growth. One of the guys in my planning class did a big project on the issue in Banff... I wish I had paid better attention.

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    Take for example Payson AZ. It is entirely set in a national forest. If someone wanted to build a subdivision in the town or similar, how do they do it? Does the federal government regularly sell their land?
    They likely can't if they are an inholding on public land. Their ownership may or may not be dependent on the contract drawn. There are places where the right terminates upon some event. If it is private land, it may depend on access across public land and whether the FS will allow traffic. Not the same everywhere.
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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    Although shown as a solid block on Google Maps, there are likely to be many private holdings within the forest. There are instances when USFS, BLM, or other lands are made available for sale, but that is not generally the purpose of these agencies. The lands are instead managed for timber, grazing, recreation, preservation, etc. Yes, this does create conflict in some cases. By the same token, it is often the preservation of these resources (even to make timber or mineral rights available to companies) that provides significant economic benefits to neighboring communities.
    The little burgh my cabin sits in is surrounded by State/National forests. I am fairly sure the community pre-dates the time of the designation. I am willing to bet that the same is true with Banff. (I can't believe that I was just able to compare my tiny lakefront burgh in Northern Michigan to Banff! Believe me, my cabin ain't no Chateau Lake Louise!)
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    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    The areas within the "blue lines" of the Adirondak and Catskills Forest Preserves are divided into "forever wild wilderness", privately forest lands for recreation and logging, and "towns". The forever wild areas generally cannot be developed in any way. The private forest lands are subjected to very strict development rules, including large minimal acreages. The state as well as private groups like the Nature Conservancy are always looking to at least purchase development rights to the private lands. The towns are where development is allowed, but the towns cannot expand their areas.

    AFAIK, once lands are designated as "forever wild" wilderness, they are protected by the provisions of the state constitution and the designation cannot be removed.
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    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    Take for example Payson AZ. It is entirely set in a national forest. If someone wanted to build a subdivision in the town or similar, how do they do it? Does the federal government regularly sell their land?

    http://maps.google.com/?ll=34.273957...76375&t=m&z=12
    From my discussions with Payson city officials it literally takes an act of Congress to sell USFS land. Most of the time they will do a land swap and every so often they will pass an act designating a few hundred acres for sale around a city. Payson is 90 minutes or so from Phoenix and a few thousand feet higher in elevation so many people have second homes in the area making real estate expensive. Payson's biggest problem related to growth is access to water.

    Given the amount of federal lands in AZ this is a common problem. A copper company wants to mine a large ore body outside of Superior, AZ but the land is owned by BLM. They have been trying to do a land swap and its keeps failing to make it out of Congress. Last I heard it made it out of the House but has not got a hearing in the Senate.
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    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    The areas within the "blue lines" of the Adirondak and Catskills Forest Preserves are divided into "forever wild wilderness", privately forest lands for recreation and logging, and "towns". The forever wild areas generally cannot be developed in any way. The private forest lands are subjected to very strict development rules, including large minimal acreages. The state as well as private groups like the Nature Conservancy are always looking to at least purchase development rights to the private lands. The towns are where development is allowed, but the towns cannot expand their areas.

    AFAIK, once lands are designated as "forever wild" wilderness, they are protected by the provisions of the state constitution and the designation cannot be removed.
    I am really amazed at how NYSDOT was able to build I-87 thought Adirondack Park. It is a vitally important international transport corridor and an amazingly gorgeous drive that anyone who likes scenic highway drives must do at least one time in his or her life. "NO CELL PHONE SERVICE - NEXT xxx MILES/km".

    Mike

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    Cyburbian chupacabra's avatar
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    I've found it varies with the surrounding land manager and the specifics of existing land ownership. Typically, with federal agencies, the lands would have to be existing allotments/inholdings, or otherwise already be privately owned. There's lots of private land within the boundaries of existing public lands, and the federal government usually doesn't have much say in what happens on those private lands. It often does take an act of congress to sell or trade federal lands to private ownership, but it isn't necessarily as difficult as it sounds (obviously a case-by-case deal, I've seen Don Young add a rider and get it done in weeks but I've also seen legislative EISs drag on for years). In Alaska, land swaps are much more common than land sales.
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    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    I am really amazed at how NYSDOT was able to build I-87 thought Adirondack Park. It is a vitally important international transport corridor and an amazingly gorgeous drive that anyone who likes scenic highway drives must do at least one time in his or her life. "NO CELL PHONE SERVICE - NEXT xxx MILES/km".

    Mike
    On my big Adirondaks wall map, most of the areas traversed by I-87 within the Blue Line go through apparently privately owned lands without the "forever wild" designation. These are primarily owned by logging companies and used for logging, wildlife management, and recreation. I think the Northway was built back in the 1960s when most people didn't worry so much about wilderness areas. I don't know if it could get built today.
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    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    The little burgh my cabin sits in is surrounded by State/National forests. I am fairly sure the community pre-dates the time of the designation. I am willing to bet that the same is true with Banff. (I can't believe that I was just able to compare my tiny lakefront burgh in Northern Michigan to Banff! Believe me, my cabin ain't no Chateau Lake Louise!)
    Banff was developed as a tourist town from the beginning. Back in the 1880’s the railway company and the government were looking for ways to get people onto the trains. Buildings a resort spa town was one way to do that. In those days "nature" was about tourism, not protection. The Town of Banff was part of the park, administered by park staff, until 1990 when it became a true municipality. Its boundaries were fixed by federal legislation and any expansion will require changes to that legislation. Banff is the only true town within a national park in Canada. Other “towns” in the park such as Lake Louise, and towns in other national parks, are administered entirely by park staff. The only other exception is Jasper in Jasper National Park which has a special governance agreement where the locally elected council deals with most issues, but not land use or development issues. Those are still handled by park staff.

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    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    We have some land/cabin in the Zuni mountains which is part of the Cibola National Forest. Our little subdivided area sticks up into Forest Service land and there is a small, 200 or so acre parcel that is adjacent to our property. Its kind of weird – a self-contained little square of Forest Service land completely surrounded by private land.

    I expect the history of different parks varies in terms of how land was assembled, but in these parts, most communities that exist within forest land (that’s what we have most of – not a lot of National Parks here, mostly NFS land and Monuments) were there prior to the Feds purchasing and represent hold-outs or exemptions granted when the area was first established as Federal land. I don’t know about private interests being able to purchase public lands except to say I have never heard of it. More often, energy or other extractive resource interests clamor to gain access to or expand rights to work within federal lands in my neck of the woods. It is the Land of Many Uses, afterall. In my area, we mainly encounter hunters and cattle grazing on public lands. No extraction and, at least not in the time we have been there, any logging. We actually need some logging/thinning activity there as the forest is very very dense with a lot of fuel from dead trees and understory growth. Suppression has made it a tinderbox and that forest desperately needs some management. On the plus side, the Zunis were logged almost completely bare at one point, but was reseeded extensively in a number of occasions. Its sometimes held up as one of the best success stories of reclamation of Federal lands. It’s a wonderful, rich assortment of pondeosa, juniper, pinon and scrub oak with some spruce thrown in under the right circumstances.

    I was working with a LEED-H certifier last week and he mentioned he recently certified a bunch of high end condos in the Grand Canyon Park that, I think, went Platinum (I think he said they were essentially right at the rim). I wasn’t clear if this was a private development or some sort of government undertaking to generate revenue (like the lodges in many parks like Yellowstone).
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