Government will buy $1 million of land in Siskiyou monument – October 30, 2009

Government will buy $1 million of land in Siskiyou monument: Bill also includes funding for visitor center at Crater Lake

Mail Tribune

Medford, Oregon

October 30, 2009

BY PAUL FATTIG

A $32.2 billion (this number has been corrected) Interior Department appropriations bill en route to President Obama’s desk includes $1 million to purchase islands of land from willing sellers in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Another $350,000 is earmarked for a visitor center at Crater Lake National Monument.

The funds are part of nearly $7 million for Oregon projects announced today by Oregon Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley. They are for the 2010 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1.

“This bill will put people to work keeping our forests healthy and preserve and protect some of Oregon’s most treasured places, from Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument to Hells Canyon,” Merkley said in a prepared statement.

“It will also create jobs through the replacement of deteriorated infrastructure, updating clean drinking water systems and protecting local communities from the threat of wildfires and floods,” he added.

The $1 million for the 52,940-acre monument will be used to complete the transfer of land from the Pacific Forest Trust to the federal government, said Jim Whittington, spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Medford District.

Based in San Francisco, the nonprofit trust dedicated to preserving forestland has purchased nearly 5,000 acres, much of it former timber company land, that it is transferring to the agency at cost. Although some 60 percent of the land within the monument’s boundaries is federally owned, there are islands of private parcels within its perimeter.

The monument is the mountainous region immediately east of Ashland where the Cascade, Klamath and Siskiyou ranges converge.

The funding for the Crater Lake visitor center will allow the National Park Service to renovate the currently boarded-up 1928 “campers store” building on the crater’s rim to turn it into a visitor center covering some 5,000 square feet.

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