Saturday, February 23, 2013

Surface rights purchased for Petrified Forest National Park; potash deposits called "worthless"

The National Parks Traveler magazine reports that 4,265 acres of surface rights from the McCauley Ranch was  purchased for Petrified Forest National Park by The Conservation Fund and the National Parks Conservation Association, which will convey the deed to the Park Service later this year. [Right, ranch lands acquired shown in yellow.  Credit, National Parks Traveler from an NPS map]

The article notes that "In 2011, the Park Service acquired about 26,000 acres of private lands when it was able to purchase the Hatch Ranch."

It also says "a Park Service assessment judged the potash deposits beneath the ranch to be worthless, the ranch owners disputed that finding, said Kevin Dahl, the Arizona program manager for the NPCA."

Interestingly the article says the Park hopes to obtain the surface rights to the Twin Buttes Ranch on the west side of the Park if Passport Potash does not exercise their $20 million option on the property by August, 2013.

AZGS estimates that about a quarter of the Holbrook basin potash deposit underlies the federal lands in the park and a similar amount underlies the state and private lands within the park boundaries.

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