Gosar prepares new land swap legislation

January 28, 2019 GMT

WASHINGTON — For the second time in a little more than four months, legislation has been introduced in Congress to facilitate a land swap between the City of Bullhead City and a federal agency.

Last week, six of Arizona’s nine members of the U.S.House of Representatives co-sponsored House Resolution 755, the Black Mountain Range and Bullhead City Land Exchange Act of 2019, that would authorize the city to donate 1,100 acres of mountainous property between Bullhead City and Golden Valley to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in exchange for 345.2 acres of land in Bullhead City now held by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management.

The land in question is in Section 12, along Highway 95 and the Colorado River south of Bullhead Community Park; the city currently leases a large portion of Section 12 from BLM. The land plays a signicant role in the city’s plan to expand development of Community Park for more recreational opportunities.

The House resolution was cosponsored by Republican Reps. Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, Debbie Lesko and David Schweikert and Democrats Ruben Gallego and Ann Kirkpatrick.

A companion resolution was introduced in the Senate by Arizona’s two freshmen senators, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally. Sinema and McSally both were members of Arizona’s House delegation last year and signed on to a similar 2018 resolution that never made it to a floor vote.

Similarly, then-Sen. Jon Kyl introduced a companion resultion in the Senate in 2018; it, too, did not advance beyond committee review.

Gosar, whose district includes the Bullhead City area, said “This bipartisan land exchange is good for Bullhead City, good for the BLM, good for local species, good for tourism and good for families.

“I am thrilled to see strong support from both sides of the aisle for this legislation and appreciate Sen. McSally taking the lead in the Senate. I applaud Mayor (Tom) Brady, Council Member (Mark) Clark and City Manager (Toby) Cotter for bringing this common-sense bill to our attention. Improving recreational opportunities along the Colorado River will have lasting benefits for future generations.”

Brady agreed, thanking Gosar for his support of the act and the goal it would accomplish.

“This consensus, bipartisan legislation aims to improve recreational opportunities along the Colorado River while simultaneously improving the Department of Interior’s management of important parcels of the Black Mountain Range. The support for this legislation has been encouraging and I look forward to working with our delegation to enact this measure as soon as practical.”

The land in the Black Mountains was donated to the city in 2015 by Don Laughlin, described as “1,100 acres of moutainous, environmentally sensitive on a 4,500-foot mountaintop....”

According to Gosar’s office, the land, which includes a house, underground bunker and fish pond, has been appraised at about $7.7 million. The city, since receiving the donation, has been responsible for maintenance and upkeep.

According to terms of the donation, the city cannot relinquish the property before Dec. 15, 2020 — five years after it was given by Laughlin.