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BLM Land Privatization Challenged

SACRAMENTO (CN) - The U.S. Bureau of Land Management illegally privatized a 266-acre parcel of public land near Redding, in exchange for a remote area in another county, and plans to privatize 3,000 environmentally sensitive acres west of the city that are used for recreation and unsuitable for development, the Shasta Resources Council claims in Federal Court.

The privatized parcel 5 miles west of Redding "has an extensive history of public use and enjoyment" and "contains a network of trails built and maintained by members of the surrounding community that the public uses for hiking, running, mountain biking, and horseback riding," the complaint states. It includes "several branches of Salt Creek, an unspoiled tributary of the Sacramento River that provides spawning habitat for salmon and steelhead listed as threatened and endangered".

Plaintiffs say the private property owners have posted No Trespassing signs, and cut off access to other federal lands sorely needed by residents of the urban area. They say the Bureau of Land Management violated requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, "that a land exchange be in the public interest, giving real consideration to the needs of the community."

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