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8/25/2020 at 2:00:40 PM GMT
Posts: 2

Hello Cabin Owner Community,


My tract of cabins is in the process of trying to swap land with the USFS and we are trying to locate an organization that will help us with this process. Specifically, an organization that can pair us with someone who has land for sale that boarders a National Forest preferably in NM that we can purchase and then swap with the USFS for our property which we currently lease from the USFS.


Does anyone know of an organization that could help with this?


Thanks in advance,



8/25/2020 at 3:01:58 PM GMT
Posts: 32
Dear Lee,

I'm jumping in to share a bit more about the process for those reading this post. While there are rare exceptions, swaps involve a challenging process. Not every region or forest will be open to this idea. We've seen a couple tracts successfully complete swaps, but others never able to get traction. First, make sure every single lot and permit holder is on board and unanimous.

Most important, you'll want to research what land the Forest Service wants. If another organization can help you identify areas that might be desirable as part of the National Forests, a key ecosystem service or the like, then the FS may show interest. I don't believe cabin owners have gotten very far with offering land, but rather in researching to find the appropriate and right-sized piece to make the trade desirable. In region 5 in California, for example, the USFS has not expressed interest in swaps. If a partner group was willing and able, they might find something best kept as public lands - islands of private property in the midst of a large National Forest, for example. Or as you pointed out in your post - something that is adjacent to forest lands and with special qualities that the Forest Service would deem particularly and uniquely valuable.

In Minnesota, a tract worked with a consultant that the USFS approved and after more than a decade and a steep cost to each permit holder, they completed this process. In one case, a tract opted to keep many of the Forest Service permit restrictions as their covenants to prevent McMansions from changing the atmosphere of the cabin community. In another case, they dropped the swap idea because of similar concerns. The costs tend to be in the 10's of thousands over the time it takes to complete the swap and that time frame is usually at least a decade if you have found land the USFS genuinely has their eyes on.

I don't mean to sound discouraging. My sense is that the national leaders of the USFS don't have a lot of eagerness to sell off the cabin tract lands. In some cases, it may be that the Forest Service will be more open, and I would certainly recommend getting input from one's forest on this kind of endeavor. Let us know at NFH how your efforts go. I wish you best of luck. Stay in touch.

Sharon Leach, NFH Executive Director

8/30/2020 at 9:31:43 PM GMT
Posts: 2
Thank you for your reply and yes I understand the process takes time. I am actually the second generation that has worked on this. We have not been pursuing this for a decade we have been pursueing it for decadeS. Anyway, would you by any chance know the name or have some contact info for the consultant that worked with the people in Minnesota? You can even have someone that was involved with the Minnesota group contact me.

Lee Hisey

Thanks in advance