Summary: H.R.496 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (05/23/2016)

Alabama Hills National Scenic Area Establishment Act

(Sec. 3) This bill establishes in Inyo County, California, the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area, comprising approximately 18,610 acres of land.

The Department of the Interior shall manage the Area as a component of the National Landscape Conservation System.

Interior shall allow existing recreational uses of the Area to continue, including hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, sightseeing, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, and appropriate authorized motorized vehicle use.

The use of motorized vehicles in the Area shall be permitted only on:

  • roads and trails designated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for use of such vehicles as part of a management plan sustaining a semi-primitive motorized experience, or
  • on county-maintained roads.

Nothing in this bill creates a protective perimeter or buffer zone around the National Scenic Area.

Interior shall continue to provide private landowners with adequate access to inholdings in the Area.

Livestock grazing already established in the Area, including grazing under the Alabama Hills and the George Creek allotments, shall continue.

The federal land within the area is withdrawn from: (1) entry, appropriation, or disposal under the public land laws; (2) location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; and (3) disposition under all laws pertaining to mineral and geothermal leasing or mineral materials.

Interior may make grants to, or enter into cooperative agreements with, state, tribal, and local governmental and private entities to conduct research, interpretation, or public education or to carry out any other initiative related to the restoration, conservation, or management of the Area.

The management plan shall establish plans for maintenance of public utility and other rights of way within the Area.

(Sec. 4) Interior shall develop a comprehensive plan for the long-term management of the Area.

In developing this plan, Interior shall:

  • consult with appropriate state, tribal, and local governmental entities, including Inyo County and the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Tribe; and
  • seek input from investor-owned utilities (including the Southern California Edison Company), the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group, members of the public, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

In developing the management plan, Interior shall allow, in perpetuity, casual-use mining limited to the use of hand tools, metal detectors, hand-fed dry washers, vacuum cleaners, gold pans, small sluices, and similar items.

(Sec. 5) Interior shall take approximately 132 acres of federal land into trust for the benefit of the Lone-Pine Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, which shall be considered part of the Tribe's reservation, excluding a specified right-of-way granted to the City of Los Angeles.

Gaming shall not be allowed on such trust land.

(Sec. 6) The bill transfers administrative jurisdiction of approximately 56 acres of specified federal land from the U.S. Forest Service to the BLM.

(Sec. 7) Valid, existing, commercial permits for guided recreational opportunities for the public may continue.

(Sec. 8) No additional funds are authorized to carry out the requirements of this bill, which shall be carried out using amounts otherwise authorized.