Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 253, The Y Mountain Access Enhancement Act, by a vote of 397 -- 1. The legislation, sponsored by Congressman Jason Chaffetz, would allow Brigham Young University to purchase the land surrounding the "Y" block on Y Mountain.
"This is a win for the federal government and a win for Utah," said Chaffetz. "Hikers have enjoyed the beauty of Y Mountain for years. This legislation allows the trail to be better maintained and preserved for generations to come."
H.R. 253 would improve long-term maintenance and planning for the Y Mountain Trail by eliminating split ownership of the trail. Currently, BYU owns the land surrounding the trailhead, but the US Forest Service owns the land surrounding the block "Y". This legislation would direct the Department of Agriculture to sell the land surrounding the "Y" at fair market value to BYU with proceeds from the sale used to reduce the federal deficit. BYU would cover administrative and appraisal costs associated with the sale of the 80 acres. The bill guarantees that public access to the "Y" and the Y Mountain Trail would be maintained following the land sale.
Several decades ago, BYU owned the "Y" and the surrounding area, but the land was ultimately transferred to a private trust which then transferred the land to the Forest Service. This bill would restore ownership to BYU and would provide long-term certainty by removing any questions as to who is responsible for maintaining the trail.
Identical legislation (HR 4484) was passed in the House during the 112th Congress but failed to be brought to a vote in the Senate. HR 253 will now move to the Senate for consideration.