Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis is lobbying Congress to permit his city and the U.S. Forest Service to trade large tracts of land in Parleys and City Creek Canyons.
"Right now, the ownership is like a checkerboard. We own a parcel here, they own a parcel there. That makes it hard for us to manage our watershed, and hard for the Forest Service to take care of its land," DePaulis said.He said officials have worked for years on a land swap involving 18,000 acres in the two canyons that would generally grant the city control over land lower, near creeks, and give the Forest Service land higher in the canyons.
"The important thing is that the land be contiguous, so we don't have a parcel here and a parcel there with a lot of Forest Service land in between," he said.
DePaulis said he has met with members of Utah's congressional delegation about the plan this week, and has found no opposition. "We feel this is the time to move on this."
Congressional aides said they expect Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, to sponsor needed legislation in the House, and Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, to sponsor similar legislation.
DePaulis has been in Washington for meetings of the U.S. League of Cities and Towns and the National Conference of Mayors. He is working on transportation committees of both groups, hoping to help find solutions to the I-15 corridor in Salt Lake County.