On Thursday, the 20 year process of a land exchange with the Lions Club Foundation and the Forest Service was finalized and agreed to. The 344 acre parcel is now in private hands.

The land, which is in the Lakeside Ranger District of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, is surrounded by private land on three sides and the Fort Apache Reservation on the fourth side.

“We’re excited that after 20 long years, the Lion’s Club of Arizona now owns Camp Tatiyee,” said Sandy Shiff, who along with Paul Randall is one of the longest-standing members of the Lions Club board. Both Shiff and Randall have been a part of the process since the beginning.

Camp Tatiyee sits on approximately 40 acres of the parcel and Camp Grace sits on another 20 acres. Shiff stated in a phone interview that the rest of the parcel is in a trust owned by investment group BC2 LLC that has long had an interest in the Pinetop-Lakeside area. They bought a large portion of the private land used for the land exchange.

The reason it took so long is the complexity of the process. The land exchange is so extensive and involves so many affected parties and requirements by the federal government. Appraisal estimates of the 344 acre parcel and the lands to be exchanged were also a major undertaking. In addition, there were 18 private land parcels that were bought by the Lions Foundation and BC2 LLC across eight different counties in the state.

Coordination and approval had to be gained by the different county, municipalities, and private citizens involved, as well as the reservation. Surveys, public meetings, legal notices, etc, had to be adhered to.

Eleven different federal acts had to be addressed including the Endangered Species Act and the Environmental Policy Act, to name just two. All of them had their own requirements that had to be followed.

Source : Press Release