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Supervisors Endorse Forest Land Transfer

Sonora, CA — After two members decided to recuse themselves, the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors voted 3-0 to endorse the idea of transferring ownership of 80 acres from the U.S. Forest Service to a trust for the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians.

The two forty acre parcels are immediately adjacent to the tribe’s Murphy Ranch property, to the east of Tuolumne. The tribe hopes to add the parcels into its existing “Murphy Ranch Conservation Area,” and is not seeking authority to conduct any form of gaming on the property.

Supervisor Evan Royce recused himself, citing that his wife is a member of the tribe, and Supervisor Sherri Brennan did so also, noting that her family has long done cattle grazing in the Murphy Ranch Conservation Area.

The remaining Board voted 3-0 in favor of the potential land transfer. Board Chair John Gray pointed out that it would not impact county revenues, by transferring from federal to tribal ownership.

County Administrator Craig Pedro noted that Congressman Tom McClintock expressed a willingness to introduce federal legislation for the transfer, but only if the county was in favor. The Forest Service has not taken a stance on the matter because there is not a firm proposal in place at this time, and it has only been a hypothetical proposal to this point. Representatives of the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians were on hand at today’s meeting to show support for the Supervisors’ motion.