ELKO, Nev. - The supervisor of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest remains confident of approval of the proposed transfer of a remote cemetery in Jarbidge from the U.S. Forest Service to Elko County.
Her comments came after opposition by another Forest Service administrator in Washington during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee meeting last week. The transfer must be approved by Congress.
''The problem is there is some clause somewhere that says the Forest Service cannot give away land without getting fair market value,'' Flora told the Elko Daily Free Press. ''Officially they had to go on record.''
Some local residents who oppose federal control of Nevada land on philosophical grounds have recently pressed Nevada's congressional delegation to bring the cemetery under county control. The federal government owns 87 percent of the land in Nevada, the highest percentage of any state.
The opposition of Forest Service administrator Sandra Keyes irritated Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.
''The Forest Service is continuing to ask Nevadans to put a price on their past, and I don't believe that's fair,'' Reid said. ''I find it almost incomprehensible that this agency would refuse to consider transferring ownership of a two-acre parcel of land that has been a cemetery for almost a century, without some form of payment.''
Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., and Reid introduced companion bills in the House and Senate in July calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to forgo the fair-market-value rule and authorize the transfer of the existing one-acre cemetery and an adjacent acre.
The House approved the measure Sept. 21. Reid's bill is pending in the Senate. Flora said she expects approval.
''Sometimes fine points of law, which the Washington office obviously pays close attention to, don't make sense to those of us on the ground,'' Flora said.