Legislature(2001 - 2002)

03/22/2002 01:10 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 255-LAND EXCHANGES: GOLD CORD DEVELOPMENT                                                                                  
Number 0010                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR MASEK announced  the first order of  business before the                                                               
committee, CS FOR SENATE BILL  NO. 255(RES), "An Act approving an                                                               
exchange  of land  between the  state and  Gold Cord  Development                                                               
Corporation; and providing for an effective date."                                                                              
Number 0102                                                                                                                     
JERRY  BURNETT,  Staff  to  Senator   Lyda  Green,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, presented CSSB 255(RES)  on behalf of Senator Green,                                                               
sponsor of  SB 255 by request.   Noting that the  bill relates to                                                               
legislative  approval of  an unequal  land exchange,  Mr. Burnett                                                               
offered the following sponsor statement:                                                                                        
     Alaska  "State  Parks"  [Division of  Parks  &  Outdoor                                                                    
     Recreation] has  been working since 1978  to develop an                                                                    
     opportunity  for   private  reuse  and   management  of                                                                    
     historic   buildings   at   Independence   Mine   State                                                                    
     [Historical]  Park (IMSHP).    To make  such a  private                                                                    
     venture economical, the state  has already completed or                                                                    
     has  in  the works  several  projects.   [State]  Parks                                                                    
     completed  paving  the  road   to  IMSHP,  secured  the                                                                    
     underground  mine tunnel  [in a  previous exchange]  to                                                                    
     allow   for  underground   tours,  and   will  complete                                                                    
     rehabilitation  of  foundations   and  roofs  on  seven                                                                    
     buildings  beginning in  2002 -  and that's  being paid                                                                    
     for with federal funds -  and several TRAAK [Trails and                                                                    
     Recreation Access  for Alaska] projects to  improve the                                                                    
     trail    system,   parking    lots,   Americans    with                                                                    
     Disabilities  Act  [ADA]  access  to  existing  visitor                                                                    
     center, and interpretive panels  on the mine's history.                                                                    
     They will  be releasing an RFP  [request for proposals]                                                                    
     seeking a  private partner,  ... scheduled  for release                                                                    
     in ...  February [2002].                                                                                                   
     To facilitate  the road access to  the underground mine                                                                    
     tour, the State of Alaska  sought an exchange with Gold                                                                    
     Cord   [Development  Corporation],   the  owner   of  a                                                                    
     critical  section  of the  road.    The state  held  an                                                                    
     easement  across  the  property,  but  it  was  not  of                                                                    
     sufficient size  to provide  the bus  access necessary.                                                                    
     In  addition, Gold  Cord held  a  federal mining  claim                                                                    
     that extended into the existing park boundaries.                                                                           
     The exchange  has been agreed  to by all parties.   The                                                                    
     reason you  need a legislative approval  is because the                                                                    
     state land that's being traded  ... away is worth about                                                                    
     $63,000 - that  Gold Cord gets.  And the  state will be                                                                    
     receiving about  $68,[5]00 worth of land.   So, there's                                                                    
     about  a $5,500  advantage  to the  state,  here.   And                                                                    
     since it's  unequal, the  legislature needs  to approve                                                                    
Number 0328                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE FATE  inquired whether  the mining claims  held by                                                               
Gold Cord are patented.                                                                                                         
MR. BURNETT replied no.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE  expressed  concern with  the  process  with                                                               
these  federal mining  claims that  aren't patented,  because the                                                               
negotiations  might have  to occur  with  the federal  government                                                               
rather than with Gold Cord.                                                                                                     
Number 0446                                                                                                                     
CAROL   CARROLL,   Director,   Division  of   Support   Services,                                                               
Department  of  Natural  Resources   (DNR),  clarified  that  the                                                               
federal  government is  part  of  this exchange.    The state  is                                                               
unable to obtain the selected  land due to the unpatented federal                                                               
mining claims.   Therefore,  Gold Cord  is going  to give  up the                                                               
mining claims,  and the federal  government is going to  give the                                                               
land to the  state; then the exchange between the  state and Gold                                                               
Cord will occur.   The department supports this;  the Division of                                                               
Parks  [& Outdoor  Recreation]  has worked  hard  to obtain  this                                                               
agreement.  There were few  comments [during the public process],                                                               
she  noted,   and  those   didn't  illustrate   any  controversy.                                                               
Therefore, she urged passage of the bill.                                                                                       
MS. CARROLL, in response to  Representative Green, explained that                                                               
the  [double] dotted  line on  the  map in  the committee  packet                                                               
refers  to the  road.    Directing attention  to  where the  road                                                               
crosses over  the corner of  the [parcel] labeled "Gold  Cord No.                                                               
9,"  she explained  that  this  portion is  what  the state  will                                                               
receive in  order to straighten  the road.   The state  will also                                                               
receive the southern half of  the [parcel] labeled "Gold Cord Add                                                               
No. 2."  That is the exchange.                                                                                                  
Number 0686                                                                                                                     
MS.  CARROLL, in  response to  Representative Stevens,  explained                                                               
that the Independence  Mine, located in the Hatcher  Pass area of                                                               
the Matanuska-Susitna region, was a  famous gold mine in the Gold                                                               
Rush era.   Some buildings  remain, and the area  is picturesque.                                                               
The  [Division  of Parks  &  Outdoor  Recreation] would  like  to                                                               
obtain a contractor to maintain the  area and open up some of the                                                               
underground mining tunnels for tours.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE FATE  asked how long  the RFPs have been  out, and                                                               
what the response has been.                                                                                                     
MS.  CARROLL recalled  that the  RFPs went  out in  February, but                                                               
aren't due until October.   She indicated although there may have                                                               
been some proposals, she wasn't aware of any.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE FATE remarked  that he has been  to [IMSHP], which                                                               
he called a delightful place with tremendous opportunity.                                                                       
Number 0883                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE  moved  to   report  CSSB  255(RES)  out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
zero fiscal  note.  There  being no objection, CSSB  255(RES) was                                                               
moved out of the House Resources Standing Committee.                                                                            

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