Cooper Spur land swap becomes law
Wednesday, Jan. 10 was a landmark moment for the Mount Hood Cooper Spur Land Exchange Clarification Act as it was signed into law by President Donald Trump. The legislation aimed to protect and enhance Oregon's land conservation and recreation priorities on Mount Hood passed through Congress on Dec. 21.
In 2009, Congress passed a broad public lands bill, which designated the Mt. Hood land exchange as part of the Mt. Hood Wilderness. The U.S. Forest Service was then to complete the exchange within 16 months. Efforts were subsequently delayed, leading to nine years of frustration from the local community, and a lawsuit was launched against the Forest Service.
This act will allow for nearly 100 acres of land in the Government Camp area to be developed and 700 acres of Mount Hood's northern territory to be designated and protected as forest land.
"This law will provide greater certainty for responsible development within Government Camp while permanently protecting hundreds of acres on the mountain," Clackamas County Chairman Jim Bernard said in a release on Jan. 11. "Clackamas County greatly appreciates the bipartisan work of Oregon's federal delegation, and we look forward to the U.S. Forest Service's timely completion of the land exchange."
Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Representatives Greg Walden and Earl Blumenauer wrote the legislation to resolve the nine-year land dispute.
"I'm proud to have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both houses of Congress to put this long overdue land exchange in the history books," Wyden said in an earlier interview. "Our soon-to-be-law closes this frustrating chapter of Mount Hood's past and makes it possible for the local community to finally go forward with wilderness protections and responsible development so wildlife and visitors can enjoy Mount Hood far into the future."