Mount Hood Land Exchange a Decade in the Works Is One Step Closer to Being Completed

The USFS has not yet released the appraisal values for the two parcels.

(Ian Stout)

On Monday, Jan. 6, a Mount Hood land exchange signed into law by Congress a decade ago finally took a step forward, with the U.S. Forest Service receiving appraisals for the properties involved.

The land trade involves land owned by the federal government in Government Camp, Ore., and property owned by Mt. Hood Meadows on the north side of Mount Hood.

Then-President Barack Obama signed the exchange into law in 2009 with the "Omnibus Public Land Management Act," and President Donald Trump reiterated the mandate in 2018 with the "Mount Hood Cooper Spur Land Exchange Clarification Act."

The executive action sought to settle a dispute between Mt. Hood Meadows—which sought to build a resort on the north side of the mountain near Cooper Spur—and local community and conservation groups who argued the construction would harm the Crystal Springs drinking watershed. The land exchange protects the north side of Mt. Hood from development and directs Mt. Hood Meadows' development to 110 acres of public land in Government Camp instead.

The USFS has not yet released the appraisal values for the two parcels, but Mt. Hood Meadows CEO Matthew Drake said in a statement that the ski resort will "approve [the] appraisals and their results" in order to "successfully complete the exchange in alignment with the two acts of Congress, Federal law, and consistent with the public interest."

Drake continued: "As directed by the U.S. Congress, this land exchange implements a balance between protecting sensitive lands on the north side of the mountain while providing opportunities for improved and sustainable public recreational services on both the south and north sides of the mountain."

A spokesperson for the USFS did not immediately respond to WW's request for comment.

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.