WASHINGTON Bountiful's Lions Club rifle range is one step closer to getting better facilities based on a land swap bill the House approved Tuesday.
The U.S. Forest Service would convey about 220 acres that contain the 40-acre rifle range to the city, in exchange for 1,600 acres of city land surrounded by the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, depending on the land's appraisal.
"We're very excited and happy this is moving forward," said Bountiful City Manager Tom Hardy. The bill still needs approval from the Senate and the president before becoming law.
The Bountiful City Land Consolidation Act, introduced by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, conveys the range land to the city, which would continue the Lions Club special lease and permit to run the range. The club had not added water, electricity or sewer services to the range or even a paved road because it did not have long-term permission from the government to use the land.
"With a year-to-year lease, it was just not possible," said Hardy, who also testified at a National Parks, Forest and Public Lands Subcommittee meeting specifically on the bill last year.
The city initially gets the rifle range land, and then would be able to get the additional acres surrounding the range over time, based on an appraisal.
"It's been a long time in coming," Bishop said on the House floor Tuesday, adding that his office has been working with the U.S. Forest Service and the city of Bountiful for three years. "My goal in drafting this bill is not to create a long-term management issue either for Bountiful or the Forest Service, and I believe this bill accomplishes both the letter and spirit of that particular goal."
Bishop said the bill gives both the lands they need."It will help the Forest Service and Bountiful city better manage the areas in question," he said. "It just makes sense to let the Forest Service consolidate their lands, and really fill in some pockets that exist right now in the national forest, and the new land for Bountiful will allow them to protect some important assets."