PHOENIX — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has approved the noncompetitive sale of two public land parcels totaling just over 3,380 acres to the Gila River Indian Community for just over $9.6 million.
The GRIC, composed of members of the Pima Tribe and the Maricopa Tribe, has historical ties to these lands and the parcels include cultural resources and archaeological sites that are of considerable significance to tribal members, the BLM said.
The action supports Public Law 115-350, the Gila River Indian Community Federal Rights-of-Way, Easements and Boundary Clarification Act. The law directs the Department of the Interior, acting through the BLM, to sell these lands, known as the Lower Sonoran Lands, to benefit the Gila River Indian Community and treat them as part of the community’s reservation.
On Oct. 7, the BLM published the environmental assessment regarding the project.
The lands were designated as suitable for disposal in the 2012 BLM Lower Sonoran Record of Decision and approved Resource Management Plan, because it is uneconomical for the BLM to manage them as public lands and they are not needed for any federal purpose. The sale of these lands are limited to federal, state, local and tribal governments.
Federal law requires the lands be sold at fair market value, which appraised at $9,620,000 by the Department of the Interior’s Appraisal and Valuation Services Office.
One parcel, 3,180.35 acres, adjoins the community’s reservation on its northwestern border. The other parcel, 200.34 acres, is on the southern border of the reservation in Pinal County.