Legislature(2001 - 2002)
03/22/2002 01:10 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 . 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 $68,00 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 it. 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.