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Email:   i  nfo@sbmlt.net                                                                                                           San Bernardino Mountains Land Trust                                                                              501(3)(C) non-profit organization                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Tax ID# 33-0700417                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

 

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General Plan Focuses on Open Space

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Members of the Mountain Community Plan Committee met on Monday night, Sept. 20 at the Twin Peaks Senior Center. Meeting organizer Bob Spoeneman had three speakers lined up to discuss a variety of land use issues.

Peter Jorris from the San Bernardino Mountains Land Trust led off the discussion, presenting information on how the trust can be used to conserve large parcels of land in the mountains as open space. He explained since the land trust was established in 1996 it offers property owners and the U.S. Forest Service another alternative to having large parcels of property sold for development. "In planning the future of the communities, large parcels will be key to keeping the forest."

The land trust has identified parcels across the mountain that might be able to be exchanged or purchased to be conserved as open space, Jorris said. He said in 1993 the Forest Service coordinated with residents to take input on possible future land exchange sites and there are locations in Valley of Enchantment and Strawberry Peak the Forest Service has thought about divesting that might be able to be saved as open space. "The properties that are preserved help keep the rural character of the mountains. We have a very unique forest. It's arid, mountainous and wildfire dependent.

"The land trust began as a new option for future planning and unless there is an alternative to a developer purchasing the land the property gets developed into housing. The Inland Empire is receiving the population expansion from Los Angeles and Orange counties.

"I am concerned that if the forest grows in the next 50 years like it has grown over the last 50 years that the worst case scenario is that there won't be any forest left or the forest service might abandon it as a national forest because it will have lost its forest character completely," Jorris concluded.

THE FOREST SERVICE VIEW

Longtime U.S. Forest Service employee George Kenline, assistant director for land for the San Bernardino National Forest, supplied information on how the Forest Service views exchanges. Kenline began his Forest Service career 42 years ago and he's spent the last 37 years working on the San Bernardino National Forest so he knows the forest well.

He explained in 1893 when the national forest land was carved out of the public domain some of it was saved for mining, timber and agricultural interests and those continue to this day. Currently there are about 1,500 special use permits being utilized in the San Bernardino National Forest, including camps, resorts, mining uses, Caltrans, utilities, driveways and ski areas.

Land exchanges have been a big part of the Forest Service's land acquisition program but occasionally they can utilize funds from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to purchase small, family-owned parcels when it will benefit the forest. Oftentimes land can be traded value-for-value. Land exchanges take a very long time and he cited one on the Angeles District that finally closed last year after 27 years.

"We'll never do that again," he said, adding if property can't be exchanged in one or two years the Forest Service probably isn't interested. Some of the difficulties involved with exchanges are possible encroachments or endangered, threatened or sensitive plants or animals on the property.

Another difficulty with exchanges comes from what Kenline termed, "creeping" - where a property owner starts using more and more of the adjacent property whether or not he/she owns it. He said this occurs very often in the Lake Arrowhead area.

"First, people may stack wood on it and then maybe cars are parked on it. Then if it's a possible site for exchange we need a surveyor to come in and straighten it all out."

CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT

Forest Service biologist Steve Loe has spent the last 26 years in the mountains and working with the Forest Planning Team. The job of the Dorest Service, he explained, is to maintain and preserve the forest for the public.

"As Southern California continues to develop, the national forest will be a core area for animals and nature so they can survive. We have some of the highest bear and migratory deer herds in our forest but our forests are also used by people who want to use it for many different recreational uses.

"In acquiring properties our priority is to concentrate on large parcels to help maintain the areas we have already and to add lands that back up to the national forest." He added that people who use the forest have a wide range of interests including hang gliders, horseback riders, bird watchers, skiers, off-road vehicle riding and hikers.

PRESCRIBED BURNS

"Before we all got here," Loe said, "you used to see smoke rising from somewhere in the mountains 365 days a year. Frankly, I hope to see that again. Our forest is so overgrown that when there is a fire it is an extreme situation. We need to get our forest back to health so that fire can be used as a tool again to help keep it healthy."

Loe believes there are some private lands that, if they could be acquired, would continue to provide wonderful habitat for animals because they provide shade, water and food. He cited the undeveloped area between Running Springs and Santa's Village which provides a link from the Deep Creek watershed to the City Creek watershed. This is very important to deer, mountain lion, bear, bobcats and many more species which travel back and forth in the area. 

http://www.mountain-news.com/news/localnews/article_cd0da41d-d0fd-5010-8460-61a0ab2f3598.html

Members of the Mountain Community Plan Committee met on Monday night, Sept. 20 at the Twin Peaks Senior Center. Meeting organizer Bob Spoeneman had three speakers lined up to discuss a variety of land use issues.

Peter Jorris from the San Bernardino Mountains Land Trust led off the discussion, presenting information on how the trust can be used to conserve large parcels of land in the mountains as open space. He explained since the land trust was established in 1996 it offers property owners and the U.S. Forest Service another alternative to having large parcels of property sold for development. "In planning the future of the communities, large parcels will be key to keeping the forest."

 

The land trust has identified parcels across the mountain that might be able to be exchanged or purchased to be conserved as open space, Jorris said. He said in 1993 the Forest Service coordinated with residents to take input on possible future land exchange sites and there are locations in Valley of Enchantment and Strawberry Peak the Forest Service has thought about divesting that might be able to be saved as open space. "The properties that are preserved help keep the rural character of the mountains. We have a very unique forest. It's arid, mountainous and wildfire dependent.

"The land trust began as a new option for future planning and unless there is an alternative to a developer purchasing the land the property gets developed into housing. The Inland Empire is receiving the population expansion from Los Angeles and Orange counties.

"I am concerned that if the forest grows in the next 50 years like it has grown over the last 50 years that the worst case scenario is that there won't be any forest left or the forest service might abandon it as a national forest because it will have lost its forest character completely," Jorris concluded.

THE FOREST SERVICE VIEW

Longtime U.S. Forest Service employee George Kenline, assistant director for land for the San Bernardino National Forest, supplied information on how the Forest Service views exchanges. Kenline began his Forest Service career 42 years ago and he's spent the last 37 years working on the San Bernardino National Forest so he knows the forest well.

He explained in 1893 when the national forest land was carved out of the public domain some of it was saved for mining, timber and agricultural interests and those continue to this day. Currently there are about 1,500 special use permits being utilized in the San Bernardino National Forest, including camps, resorts, mining uses, Caltrans, utilities, driveways and ski areas.

Land exchanges have been a big part of the Forest Service's land acquisition program but occasionally they can utilize funds from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to purchase small, family-owned parcels when it will benefit the forest. Oftentimes land can be traded value-for-value. Land exchanges take a very long time and he cited one on the Angeles District that finally closed last year after 27 years.

"We'll never do that again," he said, adding if property can't be exchanged in one or two years the Forest Service probably isn't interested. Some of the difficulties involved with exchanges are possible encroachments or endangered, threatened or sensitive plants or animals on the property.

Another difficulty with exchanges comes from what Kenline termed, "creeping" - where a property owner starts using more and more of the adjacent property whether or not he/she owns it. He said this occurs very often in the Lake Arrowhead area.

"First, people may stack wood on it and then maybe cars are parked on it. Then if it's a possible site for exchange we need a surveyor to come in and straighten it all out."

CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT

Forest Service biologist Steve Loe has spent the last 26 years in the mountains and working with the Forest Planning Team. The job of the Dorest Service, he explained, is to maintain and preserve the forest for the public.

"As Southern California continues to develop, the national forest will be a core area for animals and nature so they can survive. We have some of the highest bear and migratory deer herds in our forest but our forests are also used by people who want to use it for many different recreational uses.

"In acquiring properties our priority is to concentrate on large parcels to help maintain the areas we have already and to add lands that back up to the national forest." He added that people who use the forest have a wide range of interests including hang gliders, horseback riders, bird watchers, skiers, off-road vehicle riding and hikers.

PRESCRIBED BURNS

"Before we all got here," Loe said, "you used to see smoke rising from somewhere in the mountains 365 days a year. Frankly, I hope to see that again. Our forest is so overgrown that when there is a fire it is an extreme situation. We need to get our forest back to health so that fire can be used as a tool again to help keep it healthy."

Loe believes there are some private lands that, if they could be acquired, would continue to provide wonderful habitat for animals because they provide shade, water and food. He cited the undeveloped area between Running Springs and Santa's Village which provides a link from the Deep Creek watershed to the City Creek watershed. This is very important to deer, mountain lion, bear, bobcats and many more species which travel back and forth in the area.