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State Control of Federal Lands

Published with permission of the United Four Wheel Drive Association

There is a campaign by western states to transfer public lands to state control. It is predominately led by the State of Utah, and the campaign is gaining momentum.

  The tactic is pretty simple and straightforward.  It is shocking how much sense it makes and pleasantly surprising how much precedent exists to support the campaign.

Here are the basics:

  • The goal is to achieve better local driven stewardship than the federal government is currently is doing. 
  • It seeks to transfer federal public lands to state control while keeping the lands publicly managed by the state.  
  • National Parks will remain National Parks and designated wilderness will remain wild, both continuing to be federally managed.   

This statement by American Lands Council sums it up best, 

“North Dakota manages its own lands and resources.  As a result, North Dakota has an unemployment rate of 2.8%, a state budget surplus of over $1 billion, and a steady demand for new workers.  Many western states have the same terms of statehood as North Dakota for the disposal of federal title to their public lands.  Montana and Washington State not only have the same statehood terms, they share the very same statehood enabling act document with North and South Dakota – one statehood document created four different states.  But in North and South Dakota the federal government honored its obligation to transfer title to the public lands for local stewardship.”

For more information about this campaign, take a survey, sign the petition, and help spread the word, visit the American Lands Council at www.americanlandscouncil.org/