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                                                       Calendar No. 631
113th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     113-291

======================================================================



 
                     COLUMBINE-HONDO WILDERNESS ACT

                                _______
                                

               December 10, 2014.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Ms. Landrieu, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 776]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 776) to establish the Columbine-Hondo 
Wilderness in the State of New Mexico, to provide for the 
conveyance of certain parcels of National Forest System land in 
the State, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon with an amendment and recommends that 
the bill, as amended, do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

  (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Columbine-Hondo 
Wilderness Act''.
  (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Definitions.

    TITLE I--ADDITION TO THE NATIONAL WILDERNESS PRESERVATION SYSTEM

Sec. 101. Designation of the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness.
Sec. 102. Wheeler Peak Wilderness boundary modification.

                  TITLE II--LAND CONVEYANCES AND SALES

Sec. 201. Town of Red River land conveyance.
Sec. 202. Village of Taos Ski Valley land conveyance.
Sec. 203. Authorization of sale of certain National Forest System land.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

  In this Act:
          (1) Red river conveyance map.--The term ``Red River 
        Conveyance Map'' means the map entitled ``Town of Red River 
        Town Site Act Proposal'' and dated April 19, 2012.
          (2) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of 
        Agriculture.
          (3) State.--The term ``State'' means the State of New Mexico.
          (4) Town.--The term ``Town'' means the town of Red River, New 
        Mexico.
          (5) Village.--The term ``Village'' means the village of Taos 
        Ski Valley, New Mexico.
          (6) Wilderness.--The term ``Wilderness'' means the Columbine-
        Hondo Wilderness designated by section 101(a).
          (7) Wilderness map.--The term ``Wilderness Map'' means the 
        map entitled ``Columbine-Hondo, Wheeler Peak Wilderness'' and 
        dated April 25, 2012.

    TITLE I--ADDITION TO THE NATIONAL WILDERNESS PRESERVATION SYSTEM

SEC. 101. DESIGNATION OF THE COLUMBINE-HONDO WILDERNESS.

  (a) In General.--In accordance with the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 
1131 et seq.), the approximately 45,000 acres of land in the Carson 
National Forest in the State, as generally depicted on the Wilderness 
Map, is designated as wilderness and as a component of the National 
Wilderness Preservation System, which shall be known as the 
``Columbine-Hondo Wilderness''.
  (b) Management.--
          (1) In general.--Subject to valid existing rights, the 
        Wilderness shall be administered by the Secretary in accordance 
        with this Act and the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.), 
        except that any reference in that Act to the effective date of 
        that Act shall be considered to be a reference to the date of 
        enactment of this Act.
          (2) Adjacent management.--
                  (A) In general.--Congress does not intend for the 
                designation of the Wilderness to create a protective 
                perimeter or buffer zone around the Wilderness.
                  (B) Nonwilderness activities.--The fact that 
                nonwilderness activities or uses can be seen or heard 
                from areas within the Wilderness shall not preclude the 
                conduct of the activities or uses outside the boundary 
                of the Wilderness.
  (c) Incorporation of Acquired Land and Interests in Land.--Any land 
or interest in land that is within the boundary of the Wilderness that 
is acquired by the United States shall--
          (1) become part of the Wilderness; and
          (2) be managed in accordance with--
                  (A) the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.);
                  (B) this section; and
                  (C) any other applicable laws.
  (d) Grazing.--Grazing of livestock in the Wilderness, where 
established before the date of enactment of this Act, shall be allowed 
to continue in accordance with--
          (1) section 4(d)(4) of the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 
        1133(d)(4)); and
          (2) the guidelines set forth in the report of the Committee 
        on Interior and Insular Affairs of the House of Representatives 
        accompanying H.R. 5487 of the 96th Congress (H. Rept. 96-617).
  (e) Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Study Area.--
          (1) Finding.--Congress finds that, for purposes of section 
        103(a)(2) of Public Law 96-550 (16 U.S.C. 1132 note; 94 Stat. 
        3223), any Federal land in the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Study 
        Area administered by the Forest Service that is not designated 
        as wilderness by subsection (a) has been adequately reviewed 
        for wilderness designation.
          (2) Applicability.--The Federal land described in paragraph 
        (1) is no longer subject to subsections (a)(2) and (b) of 
        section 103 of Public Law 96-550 (16 U.S.C. 1132 note; 94 Stat. 
        3223).
  (f) Maps and Legal Descriptions.--
          (1) In general.--As soon as practicable after the date of 
        enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall prepare maps and 
        legal descriptions of the Wilderness.
          (2) Force of law.--The maps and legal descriptions prepared 
        under paragraph (1) shall have the same force and effect as if 
        included in this Act, except that the Secretary may correct 
        errors in the maps and legal descriptions.
          (3) Public availability.--The maps and legal descriptions 
        prepared under paragraph (1) shall be on file and available for 
        public inspection in the appropriate offices of the Forest 
        Service.
  (g) Fish and Wildlife.--
          (1) In general.--Nothing in this section affects the 
        jurisdiction of the State with respect to fish and wildlife 
        located on public land in the State, except that the Secretary 
        may designate areas in which, and establish periods during 
        which, for reasons of public safety, administration, or 
        compliance with applicable laws, no hunting, fishing, or 
        trapping will be permitted in the Wilderness.
          (2) Consultation.--Except in emergencies, the Secretary shall 
        consult with the appropriate State agency and notify the public 
        before taking any action under paragraph (1).
  (h) Withdrawals.--Subject to valid existing rights, the Federal land 
described in subsections (a) and (e)(1) and any land or interest in 
land that is acquired by the United States in the Wilderness after the 
date of enactment of this Act is withdrawn from--
          (1) entry, appropriation, or disposal under the public land 
        laws;
          (2) location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; and
          (3) operation of the mineral leasing, mineral materials, and 
        geothermal leasing laws.

SEC. 102. WHEELER PEAK WILDERNESS BOUNDARY MODIFICATION.

  (a) In General.--The boundary of the Wheeler Peak Wilderness in the 
State is modified as generally depicted in the Wilderness Map.
  (b) Withdrawal.--Subject to valid existing rights, any Federal land 
added to or excluded from the boundary of the Wheeler Peak Wilderness 
under subsection (a) is withdrawn from--
          (1) entry, appropriation, or disposal under the public land 
        laws;
          (2) location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; and
          (3) operation of the mineral leasing, mineral materials, and 
        geothermal leasing laws.

                  TITLE II--LAND CONVEYANCES AND SALES

SEC. 201. TOWN OF RED RIVER LAND CONVEYANCE.

  (a) In General.--Subject to the provisions of this section, the 
Secretary shall convey to the Town, without consideration and by 
quitclaim deed, all right, title, and interest of the United States in 
and to the one or more parcels of Federal land described in subsection 
(b) for which the Town submits a request to the Secretary by the date 
that is not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act.
  (b) Description of Land.--The parcels of Federal land referred to in 
subsection (a) are the parcels of National Forest System land 
(including any improvements to the land) in Taos County, New Mexico, 
that are identified as ``Parcel 1'', ``Parcel 2'', ``Parcel 3'', and 
``Parcel 4'' on the Red River Conveyance Map.
  (c) Conditions.--The conveyance under subsection (a) shall be subject 
to--
          (1) valid existing rights;
          (2) public rights-of-way through ``Parcel 1'', ``Parcel 3'', 
        and ``Parcel 4'';
          (3) an administrative right-of-way through ``Parcel 2'' 
        reserved to the United States; and
          (4) such additional terms and conditions as the Secretary may 
        require.
  (d) Use of Land.--As a condition of the conveyance under subsection 
(a), the Town shall use--
          (1) ``Parcel 1'' for a wastewater treatment plant;
          (2) ``Parcel 2'' for a cemetery;
          (3) ``Parcel 3'' for a public park; and
          (4) ``Parcel 4'' for a public road.
  (e) Reversion.--In the quitclaim deed to the Town under subsection 
(a), the Secretary shall provide that any parcel of Federal land 
conveyed to the Town under subsection (a) shall revert to the 
Secretary, at the election of the Secretary, if the parcel of Federal 
land is used for a purpose other than the purpose for which the parcel 
was conveyed, as required under subsection (d).
  (f) Survey; Administrative Costs.--
          (1) Survey.--The exact acreage and legal description of the 
        National Forest System land conveyed under subsection (a) shall 
        be determined by a survey approved by the Secretary.
          (2) Costs.--The Town shall pay the reasonable survey and 
        other administrative costs associated with the conveyance.

SEC. 202. VILLAGE OF TAOS SKI VALLEY LAND CONVEYANCE.

  (a) In General.--Subject to the provisions of this section, the 
Secretary shall convey to the Village, without consideration and by 
quitclaim deed, all right, title, and interest of the United States in 
and to the parcel of Federal land described in subsection (b) for which 
the Village submits a request to the Secretary by the date that is not 
later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act.
  (b) Description of Land.--The parcel of Federal land referred to in 
subsection (a) is the parcel comprising approximately 4.6 acres of 
National Forest System land (including any improvements to the land) in 
Taos County generally depicted as ``Parcel 1'' on the map entitled 
``Village of Taos Ski Valley Town Site Act Proposal'' and dated April 
19, 2012.
  (c) Conditions.--The conveyance under subsection (a) shall be subject 
to--
          (1) valid existing rights;
          (2) an administrative right-of-way through the parcel of 
        Federal land described in subsection (b) reserved to the United 
        States; and
          (3) such additional terms and conditions as the Secretary may 
        require.
  (d) Use of Land.--As a condition of the conveyance under subsection 
(a), the Village shall use the parcel of Federal land described in 
subsection (b) for a wastewater treatment plant.
  (e) Reversion.--In the quitclaim deed to the Village, the Secretary 
shall provide that the parcel of Federal land conveyed to the Village 
under subsection (a) shall revert to the Secretary, at the election of 
the Secretary, if the parcel of Federal land is used for a purpose 
other than the purpose for which the parcel was conveyed, as described 
in subsection (d).
  (f) Survey; Administrative Costs.--
          (1) Survey.--The exact acreage and legal description of the 
        National Forest System land conveyed under subsection (a) shall 
        be determined by a survey approved by the Secretary.
          (2) Costs.--The Village shall pay the reasonable survey and 
        other administrative costs associated with the conveyance.

SEC. 203. AUTHORIZATION OF SALE OF CERTAIN NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM LAND.

  (a) In General.--Subject to the provisions of this section and in 
exchange for consideration in an amount that is equal to the fair 
market value of the applicable parcel of National Forest System land, 
the Secretary may convey--
          (1) to the holder of the permit numbered ``QUE302101'' for 
        use of the parcel, the parcel of National Forest System land 
        comprising approximately 0.2 acres that is generally depicted 
        as ``Parcel 5'' on the Red River Conveyance Map; and
          (2) to the owner of the private property adjacent to the 
        parcel, the parcel of National Forest System land comprising 
        approximately 0.1 acres that is generally depicted as ``Parcel 
        6'' on the Red River Conveyance Map.
  (b) Disposition of Proceeds.--Any amounts received by the Secretary 
as consideration for a conveyance under subsection (a) shall be--
          (1) deposited in the fund established under Public Law 90-171 
        (commonly known as the ``Sisk Act'') (16 U.S.C. 484a); and
          (2) available to the Secretary, without further appropriation 
        and until expended, for the acquisition of land or interests in 
        land in Region 3 of the Forest Service.
  (c) Conditions.--The conveyance under subsection (a) shall be subject 
to--
          (1) valid existing rights; and
          (2) such additional terms and conditions as the Secretary may 
        require.
  (d) Survey; Administrative Costs.--
          (1) Survey.--The exact acreage and legal description of the 
        National Forest System land conveyed under subsection (a) shall 
        be determined by a survey approved by the Secretary.
          (2) Costs.--The reasonable survey and other administrative 
        costs associated with the conveyance shall be paid by the 
        holder of the permit or the owner of the private property, as 
        applicable.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of S. 776 is to establish the approximately 
45,000-acre Columbine-Hondo Wilderness, modify the boundary of 
the Wheeler Peak Wilderness, and to convey certain National 
Forest System land to the Town of Red River and Village of Taos 
Ski Valley in New Mexico.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    The lush forests and alpine meadows of the Columbine-Hondo 
are home to abundant Rocky Mountain wildlife, such as mule 
deer, elk, black bear, and mountain lion. Above the tree line, 
New Mexico's prized herd of bighorn sheep, along with marmots 
and pica, can be seen in a fragile alpine tundra habitat. The 
Columbine-Hondo contains the headwaters of the Rio Hondo and 
Red River, both major tributaries of the upper Rio Grande in 
northern New Mexico. The pristine creeks and streams of the 
Columbine-Hondo provide surface water for the downstream 
agricultural communities of Valdez, Arroyo Hondo, Arroyo Seco, 
San Cristobal, and Questa.
    The Columbine-Hondo region of the Sangre de Cristo 
Mountains contains ponderosa pine and mixed conifer forests, 
alpine meadows, and some of the highest peaks in the State, 
including Gold Hill, which rises to an elevation of 12,711 
feet.
    The permanent protection of this area will ensure quality 
habitat for hunters and anglers, the protection of the primary 
watershed for numerous nearby communities and downstream water 
users, and the preservation of historic ways of life for 
northern New Mexicans. Nearby communities are also interested 
in attracting additional tourism to recreate in this wilderness 
area.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    Senator Udall of New Mexico introduced S. 776 on April 22, 
2013. Senator Heinrich is a cosponsor of the bill.
    On November 20, 2013, the Subcommittee on Public Lands, 
Forests, and Mining of the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources held a legislative hearing on S. 776 (S. Hrg. 113-
342). The Committee adopted an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute to S. 776 and ordered S. 776, as amended, favorably 
reported on November 13, 2014.
    A similar bill, S. 2468, was introduced by Senators 
Bingaman and Udall of New Mexico in the 112th Congress on April 
26, 2012.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on November 13, 2014, by a voice vote of 
a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 776, if 
amended as described herein.

                          COMMITTEE AMENDMENT

    During its consideration of S. 776, the Committee adopted 
an amendment in the nature of a substitute containing technical 
changes to the bill.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 provides the short title ``Columbine-Hondo 
Wilderness Act.''
    Section 2 defines key terms used in the Act.
    Section 101 designates 45,000 acres of land in the Carson 
National Forest in New Mexico as wilderness.
    Section 102 modifies the boundary of the Wheeler Park 
Wilderness by adding 650 acres.
    Section 103 authorizes such sums as are necessary to carry 
out title I of the Act.
    Section 201 requires the Secretary to convey, without 
consideration, several parcels of land to the Town of Red 
River. The Town will use the parcels for public purposes 
including for a wastewater treatment plant, a cemetery, a 
public park, and a public road.
    Section 202 requires the Secretary to convey, without 
consideration, a parcel of land totaling 4.6 acres to the 
Village of Taos Ski Valley. The Village will use the parcel for 
a public purpose as a wastewater treatment plant.
    Section 203 authorizes the Secretary to convey to, at fair 
market value, two parcels of land to private property owners to 
correct a trespass on National Forest System land that was 
discovered during an updated survey.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following estimate of costs of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office.

S. 776--Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Act

    S. 776 would designate about 32,000 acres of federal land 
in New Mexico as components of the National Wilderness 
Preservation System. The bill also would require the Forest 
Service to convey, without consideration, four parcels of land 
totaling 43 acres to two municipalities in New Mexico. Finally, 
the bill would authorize the agency to sell two parcels of 
federal land totaling less than half an acre to two private 
entities.
    Based on information regarding the cost of similar 
activities and assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts, 
CBO estimates that establishing the new wilderness area and 
carrying out the land transactions required under the bill 
would cost less than $500,000. Because the bill would authorize 
the Forest Service to retain and spend any proceeds from the 
sale of the affected lands, we estimate that enacting the bill 
would increase offsetting receipts and associated direct 
spending; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, 
we estimate that the total net proceeds from the authorized 
land sales would be minimal. Enacting S. 776 would not affect 
revenues.
    The bill would authorize the Forest Service to sell 0.2 
acres to a church and 0.1 acres to a private landowner in the 
town of Red River, New Mexico. Based on the value of similar 
lands in the area, CBO estimates that the proceeds from those 
sales would total less than $100,000. Because the agency would 
be able to retain and spend those amounts under the bill, CBO 
estimates that enacting those provisions would have no 
significant net impact on direct spending over the 2015-2024 
period. In addition, because none of the lands that would be 
designated as wilderness or conveyed to the municipalities 
currently produce any income and are not expected to do so in 
the future, we estimate that enacting those provisions would 
not affect direct spending.
    S. 776 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would benefit the town of Red River and the village of Taos Ski 
Valley in New Mexico. Any costs to those entities resulting 
from the land conveyances would be incurred voluntarily.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LaFave. The 
estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      REGULATORY IMPACT EVALUATION

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out S. 776.
    The bill is not a regulatory measure in the sense of 
imposing Government-established standards or significant 
economic responsibilities on private individuals and 
businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 776, as ordered reported.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The testimony of the Deputy Chief of the Forest Service at 
the November 20, 2013 hearing before the Subcommittee on Public 
Lands, Forests and Mining on S. 776 follows.

Statement of Leslie Weldon, Deputy Chief, National Forest System, U.S. 
               Forest Service, Department of Agriculture

    Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for 
the opportunity to appear before you today to provide the 
Department of Agriculture's (USDA) views on S. 776, a bill to 
establish the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness in the State of New 
Mexico, to provide for the conveyance of certain parcels of 
National Forest System land in the State, and for other 
purposes.
    USDA supports S. 776, if amended to make the provisions 
related to the conveyances of National Forest System lands 
consistent with the department's testimony.
    S. 776 would designate the 45,000 acre Columbine-Hondo 
Wilderness Study Area as part of the National Wilderness 
Preservation System. The bill would also make a boundary 
adjustment to the Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area. In addition, 
the bill would direct the conveyance of parcels of National 
Forest System land to the town of Red River and the village of 
Taos Ski Valley without consideration. These parcels contain 
sewage treatment plants, recreational facilities and private 
buildings that are authorized under special use permits. The 
bill also would authorize the conveyance of two parcels to 
private parties, totaling approximately 0.3 acres of National 
Forest System lands, for fair market value.


       section 101--designation of the columbine-hondo wilderness


    The Department supports the addition of the Columbine-Hondo 
Wilderness Study Area on the Carson National Forest as part of 
the National Wilderness Preservation System. The 45,000 acre 
Columbine-Hondo area is located in the Carson National Forest 
and was designated as a Wilderness Study Area in 1980 and was 
recommended for Wilderness designation in the Forest Plan in 
1986. This alpine area is part of the southern end of the 
Sangre de Christo Mountain Range and truly has outstandingly 
remarkable features including Gold Hill and Lobo Peak both 
rising above tree line over 12,000 feet. It is a scenic 
backdrop for skiers at Taos Ski Valley as well as the 
communities in Taos County. It is an area popular with summer 
hikers and fishermen because of its stunning views, steep 
canyons, clear cold streams and accessible trail system.
    In the intervening years since the Forest Plan 
recommendation, two of the steeper trails within the proposed 
Wilderness Area have been used by highly skilled mountain 
bikers. Upon designation, these trails would no longer be 
available for mountain bike use.


       section 102--wheeler peak wilderness boundary modification


    In order to address the loss of mountain biking 
opportunities with the creation of the Columbine-Hondo 
Wilderness, mountain bike and wilderness interests have 
proposed adjusting the Wheeler Peak Wilderness boundary to 
allow for mountain bike use. The modification also adds acreage 
to the Wheeler Peak Wilderness for a net addition of 650 acres. 
While the Department applauds the collaborative efforts between 
interest groups, we would like to work with the Committee to 
explore other options to address mountain biking opportunities 
as this proposal may present unforeseen management challenges.


section 201--town of red river land conveyance and section 202--village 
                   of taos ski valley land conveyance


    While the Department understands the interests of local 
communities in acquiring parcels which are considered vital to 
community infrastructure and development, the Department has 
concerns with the proposed conveyance of these parcels without 
consideration. As a matter of general precedent, the Department 
supports conveyances only where the Federal Government receives 
appropriate consideration. The Town of Red River and the 
Village of Taos Ski Valley plan to develop permanent 
infrastructure on the parcels proposed for conveyance. The 
Department recommends conveying the parcels for community 
purposes for market value and that the proceeds be deposited 
into the Sisk Act fund. Additionally, the legislation would 
provide for the reversion of the property to the United States, 
at the election of the Secretary, if the conditions under 
Sections 201(d) and 202(d) are violated. We would like to work 
with the Committee to address concerns with the reversionary 
language.


 section 203--authorization of sale of certain national forest system 
                                  land


    The Department supports the conveyance of NFS parcels for 
market value and the proceeds being deposited in a Sisk Act 
fund. The parcels to be conveyed to the private parties are 
each less than one acre in size.
    This concludes my statement and I would be happy to answer 
any questions you may have.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by the bill S. 776, as ordered 
reported.