Point Bridget land swap hearing cancelled

Posted: Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A controversial land trade has been put on hold until the properties at Point Bridget State Park and a neighboring Bible camp can be reappraised, a state official said Tuesday.

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A public hearing slated for Friday was cancelled.

"We are stalled and we need to get the funds to renew the appraisal," said Mike Eberhardt, spokesman for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.

Under the plan, the state would trade roughly 43 acres of land at the state park with 45 acres at the Echo Ranch Bible Camp. The proposal has prompted protest by sport fishermen who are worried about access to lower Cowee Creek, a popular coho fishing spot.

A recent appraisal is required to ensure that current property values are being considered in a trade. The last appraisals were done in February 2004.

Eberhardt said he was double checking several details before the scheduled hearing when he realized the appraisal was at least eight months too old.

Rural appraisals typically cost between $10,000 and $20,000. Eberhardt said he was now researching whether the costs will differ for a renewal.

"Once I make that determination, then we will be able to make the determination of how long it is going to take (to complete the swap)," he said.

Eberhardt said the access question could still be addressed; but the main issue for the Department of Natural Resources was to get contiguous access to Point Bridget State Park.

"That is the big thing from my end," he said.

• Brittany Retherford can be reached at brittany.retherford@juneauempire.com.

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