H.R. 1324, the Arapaho National Forest Boundary Adjustment Act of 2015

H.R. 1324

the Arapaho National Forest Boundary Adjustment Act of 2015

Sponsor
Rep. Jared Polis

Date
April 28, 2015 (114th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
John Huston

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, April 28, 2015, the House will consider H.R. 1324, the Arapaho National Forest Boundary Adjustment Act of 2015, under a suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on March 4, 2015 by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which ordered the bill reported by unanimous consent on March 25, 2015.[1]

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[1] See House Report 114-78 at 2.

Bill Summary

H.R. 1324 would modify the boundary of the Arapaho National Forest in Colorado to include an additional 93 acres of land, which is commonly referred to as “the wedge.” The bill authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to acquire non-Federal lands within the expanded boundary. However, written permission of the landowner will be required before a parcel of private land can be included within the expanded boundary. Acquisition of land in the added area can be achieved ‘‘only by donation or exchange.” Owners of non-Federal lands within the expanded boundary who have previously accessed their lands through lands included in the Arapaho expansion would have continued right of motorized access to their lands across an existing roadway. The motorized use provision ensures that the bill does not open privately-owned land to motorized trespass.

Background

The Arapaho National Forest is a located in the Rocky Mountains in North-Central Colorado. The Forest was established on July 1, 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt and now contains over 700 thousand acres of land.[2] The National Forest Service (NFS) has already acquired certain portions of the specified area known as “the wedge,” but legislation is needed for NFS to acquire additional land in that area. The land is called “the wedge” because it is actually a wedge of land which divides the Arapaho National Forest from the Rocky Mountain National Park.[3]

According to the bill sponsor, H.R. 1324 would effectively protect the natural beauty of “the wedge” for the millions of people who visit and travel along the Trail Ridge scenic byway annually.[4]

A similar bill, H.R. 4846, passed the House by voice vote on November 13, 2014 (See CR H7650). The Senate did not act on the House-passed bill in the 113th Congress.

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[2] http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/arp/about-forest
[3] See CR H7950-H7951
[4] http://polis.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=397699

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing the legislation would have no significant effect on the federal budget. Because enacting H.R. 1324 would not affect direct spending or revenues, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact John Huston with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-5539.