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Forest Service acquires hundreds of acres in Trinity County [366]

Redding Record Searchlight by Ryan Sabalow, 11/21/09

The 2.1 million-acre Shasta-Trinity National Forest has gained 336 acres.

Acquisitions of the acreage in Trinity County near Hyampom and Forest Glen came from a land swap and a cash purchase, forest spokesman Ray Mooney said Friday.

The U.S. Forest Service purchased 160 acres "of pristine coho salmon habitat" on the South Fork of the Trinity River eight miles north of Forest Glen near Highway 36 from the Western Rivers Conservancy for $370,000, Mooney said.

The funds were part of the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act, or FLTFA.

The act, also referred to as the "Baca Act," was passed by Congress and signed into law in 2000. The FLTFA directs revenues generated from sale or disposal of public lands to an acquisition account.

The account can be used by the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to purchase lands located within federally designated areas from willing sellers.

Before the Forest Service took over, the conservancy tore down five structures and a well.

The other acquisition was of two parcels known as the French Ranch and Cold Creek tracts also on the South Fork of the river but closer to Hyampom.

Mooney said the Forest Service acquired the 176 acres of salmon and steelhead habitat for 140 acres near Weaverville with Stephen Hagen, president of Hagen & Sons Timber Co. Inc.

The logging company bought the land in 1999 and used helicopters to log the property, which is surrounded on all sides by Forest Service land.

Hagen plans to build a home on the land near Weaverville, which he described in a statement as "the nicest property in the Weaverville basin."

Mooney said the Forest Service will often attempt to acquire private property that might be surrounded by federal lands to protect habitat and for public use.

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