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Federal Lands Interim Committee

A committee of legislators currently is studying the process for the State of Idaho to acquire title to and control of public lands controlled by the federal government in the State of Idaho. Read More


  • 1996-1998, Federal Lands Task Force created to examine ways to forge a closer cooperative relationship between the State of Idaho and the United States Forest Service
  • 1999-2000, Federal Lands Task Force Working Group appointed to identify pilot projects
  • 2002-2005, Contractor Perkins Coie LLP Selected to promote task force’s recommendation
  • November 2002, Federal Lands Task Force update presented to the Land Board


The Idaho Legislature passed Senate Bill No. 1354, Idaho Code Section 58-104 (10), authorizing the State Board of Land Commissioners “to enter into a joint exercise of powers agreement with the United States Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture, pursuant to Section 67-2328, Idaho Code.” In response to this action, the State Board of Land Commissioners appointed a 19-member task force and charged them with examining alternative methods of federal land management in the state.


The Task Force presented its report [REPORT 1] to the Land Board in July 1998. The report, “New Approaches for Managing Federally Administered Lands, A Report to the Idaho State Board of Land Commissioners by the Federal Lands Task Force, July 1998,” recommended development of pilot projects to test three new approaches to federal land management:

  • the collaborative model
  • the cooperative model
  • the trust land management model


In March 1999 the Idaho Legislature passed a concurrent resolution endorsing the Task Force’s July 1998 report, supporting further action by the Land Board on the proposals contained in the report, and urging Congress to pass legislation implementing the recommendations in the report.

The Land Board appointed a coordinator to undertake further actions, and in September 1999 appointed an eight-member Working Group to identify pilot project proposals on Idaho’s federal lands.

In December 2000, the Working Group issued a final report, “Breaking the Gridlock – Federal Projects in Idaho. A Report to the Idaho State Board of Land Commissioners.”

State Land Management vs. Federal Land Management

The federal government manages 34.5 million acres of land in Idaho, nearly two-thirds of the 53.5 million acres that make up Idaho’s land mass. The lands are managed for multiple uses.

The 2.4 million acres of State endowment trust lands make up less than five percent of Idaho’s total acreage, but the uses of the lands generate nearly $50 million annually for public schools and other State institutions, and provide ancillary benefits for the economy and health of the lands on a landscape level.

Unlike federally managed public lands, State endowment trust lands are managed not for multiple uses but a dominant use – to generate long-term financial returns to public schools and other State institutions.

Although the land management objectives between State and federally managed lands as prescribed by law are different, the Land Board and Idaho Department of Lands as managers of state endowment trust lands oftentimes are asked to contribute to discussions about federal land management in Idaho.

Additional Information

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