SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A board that manages school trust lands will meet Friday to discuss possible impacts from the recent designation of the Bears Ears National Monument.
The Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration is tasked with getting the most revenue from trust lands that mainly support schools, the Deseret News (https://bit.ly/2iAN2r9 ) reported.
“We share the frustrations that have already been exhibited by numerous elected officials, citizens and other stakeholders,” said Kim Christy, the administration’s deputy director. “Embedded in this designated footprint are 109,000 acres of school trust lands. That leaves us with how to try to deal with what all this means.”
The administration is tasked with getting the most revenue from trust lands that mainly support schools.
Christy said the monument designation and restrictions on its land could pose challenges.
“It clearly raises the bar on being able to fully develop those resources,” he said. “It creates a chokehold for us to fully exercise our mandate.”
He said ranchers lease most of the trust’s land on the designated monument for grazing. Those 15-year leases will be honored.
President Barack Obama’s proclamation says the designation will not impact grazing, though changes could come from updated plans for managing land.
A $50 million payment was made for school trust land within the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, designated in 1996.
“It was a modern day miracle that without question was unprecedented,” Christy said. “We have literally worked for decades with Congress on land trades to no avail.”
The competing mandates are “a formula for conflict unless we can be fairly compensated for those lands,” said Tom Donaldson, the director of the Utah State Office of Education School Children’s Trust.
Information from: Deseret News, https://www.deseretnews.com
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