For Sale Sign Still on National Forest
"I think they're giving people the perception that these lands are not used by anyone or are inaccessible," complained Callaway County resident Steve Hollis. "And that's just not the facts."
Hollis said hunters and hikers use the 120 acres proposed for sale in Callaway County. One part is east of Miller's Creek, south of County Road 228, while the other is off County Road 333.
"I'll probably be writing a letter to one of our representatives in Congress," said Callaway County Commissioner Lee Fritz, who said selling the land doesn't mean the money would stay in the county. He also said there's no guarantee the money would actually pay for schools.
Callaway County has received $100,000 through the federal Rural Schools Act since 2000, but $25,000 paid for road repairs.
Mid-Missouri opposition to the proposed sale surprised even the National Forest Service.
"No one has gone to the extent of the grassroots level here to organize a meeting to be able to express concerns," said Ronnie Raum, Mark Twain Forest Supervisor. "I'll certainly give a synopsis of the meeting tonight up to our regional office and to our Washington office, expressing the amount of sentiment that was expressed by folks here tonight."
But, only Congress can stop the proposed sale.
"No one ever dreamed we'd be faced with the sale of public ground," added Hollis, "especially around here where we don't have much to begin with."
Citizens have until March 30 to contact Congress about the proposed forest sale.