WASHINGTON — Urging action before Congress adjourns, the Bush administration prodded the Senate to approve a land swap that would shrink Utah's Glen Canyon National Recreation Area slightly but preserve scenic views of Lake Powell from U.S. 89.

Jeffrey K. Taylor, assistant director of the National Park Service, told a Senate Energy Subcommittee on National Parks hearing Thursday that the proposed trade would benefit the federal government, the state of Utah and local developers.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, already passed the House on a 374-0 vote. Congress, however, is expected to adjourn in early October, not leaving much time for action on the land trade.

The bill would allow the National Park Service to gain 152 acres of now-private land near Big Water, where development could have blocked views of the lake from the highway.

In return, Page One Corp. would obtain 370 acres of "geographically isolated" federal land now within the recreation area but on the opposite side of the highway from the lake.

While the developer would gain more acreage than the park service, Taylor said the value of the land the federal government is obtaining is actually about three times greater, based on an appraisal ordered by the owner.

Taylor said if the bill is approved, the federal government would do its own appraisal to ensure it is getting land worth more than it is trading. He noted the developer is not asking for money to equalize the value of the trade.

"This exchange would provide an opportunity for private development at one of the main access points to lands held by the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA)," Taylor said.

"Such private development could enhance the 40,000 acres held by SITLA and is supported by the state of Utah and Kane County," he said. Those SITLA lands are used to generate money to support public schools in Utah.


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