Government Signs Land Into Trust For Cowlitz

Mar 9, 2015
Xasartha / Wikimedia

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has signed land into trust for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. It's a major step towards establishing a reservation in southwest Washington.

For more than a decade, the Cowlitz Tribe has sought land near La Center, Washington. But that goal has been slowed by lawsuits.

Tribal Chairman Bill Iyall said the 150 acres will be used to build tribal offices and a casino.

Miguel Vieira / Flickr

Several Northwest land deals cleared Congress Friday with the Senate's final vote on a defense spending bill.

The land deals were tacked onto a $585 billion military spending package. They included large expansions for Oregon Caves National Monument and Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Washington. They also created a new national historical park at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. 

But Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio said there's one major land deal missing from the package.

Ashley Ahearn / EarthFix

There are landslide-prone areas across the mountainous Northwest. And many people choose to live in these risky, beautiful places. The question is: How can government strike a balance between people’s property rights, and safety?

Why Are Land-Use Deals So Challenging?

Feb 25, 2014

Oregon lawmakers are scrambling to fix an urban growth plan for the Portland metro area after a court threw out a four-year-old agreement last week. It's just the latest skirmish over land-use policy in the Northwest.

USFWS - Pacific Region/Flickr

Environmentalists gathered in Salem Tuesday to protest Oregon’s decision to sell off state forest land. The governor and other top state officials approved a plan to auction off about 3 percent of the Elliott State Forest. It’s their latest attempt to make the forest produce revenue for schools. Any prospective buyers will have to deal with an endangered sea bird.

Elliott State Forest Land To Be Auctioned Off

Dec 10, 2013
Oregon Department of Forestry / Flickr

Tuesday the Oregon State Land Board gave the green light to sell five scattered tracts in the Elliott State Forest east of Coos Bay.

President Obama is set to announce the creation of several new national monuments on Monday. One of them will be in Washington’s San Juan Islands. Ashley Ahearn reports.

Western States' Public Lands Fight Comes To Idaho

Jan 23, 2013
Photo by Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

A fight between western states and the federal government over control of public lands has surfaced in the Northwest. Last year Utah and Arizona lawmakers passed bills requiring the feds to sign public land over to them. Now Idaho lawmakers are discussing whether a similar bill is right for their state.

EarthFix Reporter Aaron Kunz has more.

OSU Professor Proposes Rangeland Reserves

Nov 15, 2012

An Oregon State University professor is calling on federal managers to reduce livestock grazing on public range land. He says the combined effects of climate change and grazing can damage the soil and water. Amelia Templeton of Earthfix reports.

The nation’s largest water bottling plant could go up in Anacortes, Washington. The Anacortes City Council voted Monday on a key provision in the process towards bringing in some sort of new manufacturing facility. KUOW’s Sara Lerner reports.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Two conservation groups have filed a lawsuit against county commissioners on the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge. The Skamania County commissioners have lifted a development moratorium.

The natural gas industry is interested in mineral rights in a Northwest wildlife area. Aaron Kunz explains.

This month, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission authorized the state to auction off the mineral rights for nearly 400 acres in the Payette River Wildlife Management Area. The auction could take place in late July.

Suzanne Budge is with the Idaho Petroleum Council. She explains why the company, Snake River Oil and Gas, is interested in the mineral rights.

Photo by Ashley Ahearn / Northwest News Network

SKYKOMISH RIVER, Wash. -- The Skykomish is one of the only major rivers in Washington that has not been dammed for hydropower. The river runs from the Cascade Mountains and empties into Northern Puget Sound. It’s a hot spot for wildlife and outdoor recreation. It could also be a hotspot for hydropower. Ashley Ahearn reports.