Federal Land Transfer info

Big Fin

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Seems many hunters often have a positive initial response to the idea of states taking ownership of Federal lands, so some have asked that I post this information I have on a few of the western states and what policy they have for hunting/camping/shooting on their State Trust Lands. Once you roll back the covers of what State transfer would mean to hunters, there's a skunk in the bed.


Arizonahttps://land.az.gov/natural-resources/recreation-permits/places-go

AZ affirmatively states that “trust land is not public land”

--> $15 permit required for general recreation
--> Target shooting prohibited
--> Camping is restricted to no more than 14 days per year​


California - If anyone thinks state transfer of the 40 million acres of Federal land in CA will allow hunting and shooting has a different impression of CA policy leaders than I do. FWIW, you must make a formal request to the land board in order to use school lands.


Colorado - http://trustlands.state.co.us/Projects/Pages/Recreation.aspx

Per the CO State Trust Land website, “Unlike federally owned land in Colorado, state trust land is not open for public recreational use.” That would apply to 23+ million acres of BLM and USFS lands currently open to access in Colorado.

--> The majority of lands are leased to private interests
--> Currently, only 18% of Colorado’s three million acres of state lands are open to public hunting. Budget constraints make it impossible for CPW to lease more.
--> Most lands “are not accessible by motor vehicle, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) or snowmobiles, and there are restrictions on camping, parking and off-road driving.”​


Idaho - http://www.idl.idaho.gov/recreation/index.html

--> Dispersed recreation generally is allowed on endowment lands as long as it does not conflict with the revenue generating capacity of the land​


Montana - http://dnrc.mt.gov/divisions/trust/recreational-use-of-state-land


--> Hunting prohibited on cultivated cropland during the growing season.
--> Dispersed campfires are prohibited.
--> Dispersed camping is limited to 2 consecutive days and 14 days in the calendar year.
--> Horse camping is prohibited.
--> Trapping requires application for, and approval of, a special use permit from State DNRC.
--> Off-road vehicle and snowmobile use are limited to existing roads.
--> All hunters and anglers pay a $2 fee to access state lands for hunting and fishing.​

The above changes would apply to the 30+ million acres of BLM and USFS lands in MT. Good bye backpack hunts.


Nevada - Not really worth giving their website address, given they have disposed of almost all of it.

--> Nevada has sold off 99.9 percent of its original 2+million acres of public land they were allowed to hand-pick as part of their statehood settlement. Only a few thousand acres are left.


New Mexico - http://www.nmstatelands.org/Recreational_Access.aspx#Camping

--> Camping is prohibited
--> Recreational shooting is prohibited
--> Campfires are prohibited
--> Off-road vehicles are prohibited​

Good luck hunting elk on the Gila and having to drive from Reserve or Datil every morning/evening, once hunters are no longer allowed to camp on these lands.


Wyoming - http://soswy.state.wy.us/Rules/RULES/899.pdf

Wyoming started with 4.2 million acres of state land. They have liquidated 700,000 acres of that.

--> Hunting prohibited on cultivated cropland
--> No dispersed camping
--> No dispersed camp fires
--> No off-road vehicle use​

No camping, so I wonder how one would hunt deer in Region G or H if you had to hike in each morning and out each evening? Same with the elk hunts in the NW part of the state. Some are 20 mile horse rides, each way. That should make for a long day.



Feel free to add any information or links you have that might be helpful in making this a repository for information related to "State Transfer." Share with any folks you feel might benefit from this information.
 

BuzzH

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Utah, where this wing nut idea started.

Under the enabling act of 1894 Utah was given every section 2, 16, 32, and 36 in every township...or about 7.5ish million acres.

Of that, Utah has sold about half and currently has 3.82 million acres. In simple terms, about 30% of current private lands in Utah were once State trust lands.
 
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cfree

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Don't like the idea, but...

Arizona State Trust lands are not “public lands”, as are Federal lands under the management of the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management. Federal “public lands” are managed for the benefit and use of the public, while State Trust lands are managed for the benefit of 13 Trust beneficiaries, which include the public schools and prisons. The Land Department’s trust management responsibilities include requiring a permit or lease and charging a fee for use of Trust land. Exceptions to this requirement are licensed hunters and fishers, actively pursuing game or fish, in-season, and certain archaeological activities permitted by the Arizona State Museum.

The exception mentioned above is called the Sportsmen’s Exception. Lets flush out the Sportsmen’s Exception just a little bit. Arizona Cottontail Rabbits season is year around and they inhabit the entire state and can be taken with a .22 caliber firearm. If you posses an Arizona Hunting License and at least a .22 caliber firearm, you have the right to be on State Trust Land in the pursuit of the rascally rabbit.


https://land.az.gov/content/why-do-i-need-permit-go-state-trust-land-recreation-purposes-and-how-do-i-obtain
 

sagebrush

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I'm not familiar with the specific language in the various state transfer proposals. Are the states asking to transfer federally held lands into the state trust program or are we just assuming the states would handle these lands the same? The purpose of state trust lands was to fund public works, not conservation. In AZ, we have several tracts of lands that were purchased from private parties by the state to preserve key wildlife habitat and these lands are all open to hunting.

I would support the transfer of federal lands to the control of the states as long as the conservation of the lands could be preserved in the transfer.
 

Nameless Range

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Montana

--Individual holding the lease has motorized access while the general public does not. Meaning: You could hike in a mile or two and watch Billy Bob and his cousin Ray cruise by in their side by side, beer cozies in hand, and you could do nothing about it.

--DNRC reserves the right to restrict traps if they influence other animals, and since a transfer would require a significant increase in ag production, this could very well mean leaseholder’s livestock.

--Some of the best habitat out there is not profitable in terms of production agriculture. That land is often sold.

--State land can be closed and recreation restricted under the following conditions:
-Concentration of livestock(breeding,calving,lambing,shipping
-Weed Control
-Basically anything the lessee complains about that would interfere with business as usual

--Discharge of firearms not in conjunction with licensed hunting ( such as recreational, target,small game, coyote) can be restricted at the request of the lessee.


Study after study has shown that it would be nearly impossible for states to stay in the black if they took over our public lands. The primary point to drive home, regardless of the economic and cultural disaster such a transfer would entail, is that States must manage their lands for whatever provides the greatest monetary benefit. It is much easier to quantify things like agriculture leasing, mineral development, timber harvest, and commercial rent, than it is to quantify secondary and tertiary benefits like money spent on outdoor recreation and tourism.
 

James Riley

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I'm not familiar with the specific language in the various state transfer proposals. Are the states asking to transfer federally held lands into the state trust program or are we just assuming the states would handle these lands the same? The purpose of state trust lands was to fund public works, not conservation. In AZ, we have several tracts of lands that were purchased from private parties by the state to preserve key wildlife habitat and these lands are all open to hunting.

I would support the transfer of federal lands to the control of the states as long as the conservation of the lands could be preserved in the transfer.

My guess is this: If there were a "Conservation Easement" attached to the transfer forbidding sale, or otherwise limiting future use to existing use, then the whole proposal would drop like a prom dress. Of course, even holding that out as an option would get folks on board trying to tinker with the language for a work-around. So what I mean is this: "iron clad" language. In that case, true colors would be seen. I don't even want to see them. I know the colors.
 

James Riley

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Regarding Nevada, it would be interesting to see who got the land, what is being done with it today, how much Nevada got for it, what did Nevada do with the money, and what would the land go for today. I know large tracts of the state are under the DOD and wonder if they bought the land. I also wonder what the PILT is. Idle curiosity and somewhat rhetorical. I guess I'm not willing to research it.
 

LCH

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Appreciate the great summary Randy. I shared it on a local hunting board. Most hunters around me, where we have relatively little public hunting ground, seem to think they don't have any skin in the game. The trick is to make them realize that even though we may be talking about land 1000 miles away, it is THEIR land, and it no longer will be if it's transferred/sold. You can effectively put into words what I can not.
 

James Riley

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The trick is to make them realize that even though we may be talking about land 1000 miles away, it is THEIR land, and it no longer will be if it's transferred/sold.

^^^This^^^^.

I've got friend down to Sullivan, IN, by the way. He's building points out here for a once in a life time elk hunt. I've tried to convince him of this and I think he agrees.
 

roadhunter

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There are many examples of states doing great things for hunters as well. Millions of acres of walk in land, SRA's, WMA's, state school trust land, and state parks that allow many recreational uses including hunting in many areas. Dont' forget the fact that states what tourism dollars in the state and they work hard to keep people including hunters coming to their state. Often people like to pretend that states are the enemy of hunters which is absolutely not true.

Also some of that land in question is school trust land which is not set aside specifically for recreational use so it's no surprise that it has different rules. It's there to provide $ for education not a camping spot. You can't go camp on every piece of federal land you want to either. Think about all the land that different federal agencies own that you can't camp on. COE is a good example. But notice how that never gets mentioned on this site. That is when you know you are getting spin when 1 side is grossly exaggerated and the other side never mentioned.

The reality is that the state already manages the wildlife resource on federal land including setting season dates, quotas, boundaries, etc.. So in the end as far as hunters are concerned the state is already in charge. That seems to often be overlooked.

So ultimately all we are really talking about is letting the state manage the other resources like grazing and timber. If the feds are only collecting $1.35 per AUM and states are collecting between $20 and $150 per AUM I'm all for letting the state manage the grazing resource and keep the extra money to fund the wildlife department and conservation projects. The reality is that the people in charge of the grazing resource have squandered it and are basically giving it away to a few lucky landowners who are benefiting at the expense of the taxpayers. Clearly they are incompetent and someone else needs to get a chance to manage the resource and see if they can do a better job that what is currently being done. I'd love to see the grazing resource management transferred to the state to compliment the wildlife management the states already do on federal land.
 

roadhunter

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Randy,

How do you access the Durfee Hills hunting ground if you can't land a plane on the federal land?
 
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Nameless Range

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Also some of that land in question is school trust land which is not set aside specifically for recreational use so it's no surprise that it has different rules. It's there to provide $ for education not a camping spot.

The vast majority of the land in question is school trust land.

The point is, if the states were to have any hope of staying out of bankruptcy, pretty much all lands would need to be managed for profit. Even those in favor of transfer have acknowledged as much. Therefore, it would be safe to assume the management practices for lands on which the states currently own and manage for monetary benefit, would be continued if they held deed on what are now public lands.
 

nmtaxi

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The state of New Mexico already gives 47% of it's big game tags to landowners... I shudder to think what would happen to these state owned lands with the same people deciding who has the right to them.
 

Carnage2011

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No one is going to pay $150 AUM to graze on federal land. I whole heartedly agree that $1.35 is a ridiculous rate, but so is $150. Grazing doesn't hurt the land when it is done properly and it's been proven that proper grazing practices are actually beneficial to elk and other wildlife. If you don't believe me go take a look at some of the WMA's in Montana that don't allow grazing and let me know how many elk you see. Once you're done counting the lack of elk, let me know what you propose for a budget on the incredible amount of noxious weeds. Now, before everyone gets all high and mighty about grazing on here, let it be known that I don't run any cattle or work for a ranch. This is just my opinion.
 

roadhunter

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The vast majority of the land in question is school trust land.

The point is, if the states were to have any hope of staying out of bankruptcy, pretty much all lands would need to be managed for profit. Even those in favor of transfer have acknowledged as much. Therefore, it would be safe to assume the management practices for lands on which the states currently own and manage for monetary benefit, would be continued if they held deed on what are now public lands.

Only if they were transferred as state school trust land which is not what has been talked about. Could just as easily be transferred as state parks which allow all sorts of recreation. It would not be hard to simply make keeping the current recreational use of the land if the management was transferred. But that is never mentioned on this site for some reason.

We all know that for many states federal $ would still be required to manage the land. But federal oversight and funding of state is pretty common, roads area good example. But I believe the state would be more efficient and be able to manage the land with less burden to taxpayers. When you take into account how much $ is left on the table with grazing rights is easy to see how the financial situation could be drastically improved with no difference to the land. Cows will be there grazing regardless of if the owner pays $1.35 of $20+ per AUM.

The real question is why not give states a chance to manage the grazing resource?
 

James Riley

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I once read that every domestic beef cow displaces 2 1/2 elk. I suppose cattle may do some good but I doubt if it is anything that bison couldn't do. If there are no cattle on a given area and the elk are suffering for it, then . . .
 

Ben Lamb

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I'm not familiar with the specific language in the various state transfer proposals. Are the states asking to transfer federally held lands into the state trust program or are we just assuming the states would handle these lands the same? The purpose of state trust lands was to fund public works, not conservation. In AZ, we have several tracts of lands that were purchased from private parties by the state to preserve key wildlife habitat and these lands are all open to hunting.

I would support the transfer of federal lands to the control of the states as long as the conservation of the lands could be preserved in the transfer.

Part of the problem is that nobody has a clue how these lands would be managed.

Each state has different laws, as have been pointed out, on how trust lands are managed. Trust lands are the largest sector of state lands. While there are specific lands like WMA's, those are political footballs and often times are starved for funding, or in states like Wyoming, the Game & Fish is statutorily prohibited from purchasing land for wildlife.

Proponents of transfer remind me a lot of that great quote from Congresswoman Pelosi on the ACA:" We have to pass it to see what's in it.

No proponent of transfer has put a plan on the table that addresses the concerns of public land users. Even Utah, after 3 years of demanding that the fed hand over your land toot-suite, doesn't have a plan in place to manage tens of millions of new state government land.
 

roadhunter

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No one is going to pay $150 AUM to graze on federal land. I whole heartedly agree that $1.35 is a ridiculous rate, but so is $150. Grazing doesn't hurt the land when it is done properly and it's been proven that proper grazing practices are actually beneficial to elk and other wildlife. If you don't believe me go take a look at some of the WMA's in Montana that don't allow grazing and let me know how many elk you see. Once you're done counting the lack of elk, let me know what you propose for a budget on the incredible amount of noxious weeds. Now, before everyone gets all high and mighty about grazing on here, let it be known that I don't run any cattle or work for a ranch. This is just my opinion.

Based on what?

Some already pay $120 to graze federal land. Texas charges $150 per AUM to graze state land. Even other federal agencies charge much more than $1.35 in many cases and over $100 per AUM in some cases. But here we are stuck with the current $1.35 for the last 5+ years at an all time low while cattle prices are through the roof and we have gone through terrible droughts from Texas to Montana. If that's not mismanagement then I dont' know what it. Forget about hunting for a moment and look at the reality of the situation.
http://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0LE...1232.pdf/RK=0/RS=drPXkO0nH.03Fgz5vYG6DCHEFMY-
 
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