State-Owned Lands in the Eastern United States: Lessons from State Land Management in Practice

State-Owned Lands in the Eastern United States: Lessons from State Land Management in Practice

Quoting from the paper below, “Eastern states have been a source of experimentation and innovation in land policies, administrative arrangements, and management approaches — often with considerable economic and environmental success.”


These ideas would work in the West.


NOTE: this article was originally published to on March 13, 2018. It was written by Robert H. Nelson.


What – specifically – do states do differently than the feds that works so much better? They:

• actively manage land for multiple uses and revenue-raising purposes while maintaining forests and other state lands in a healthy environmental and ecological condition;

• earn more revenue from timber harvesting than timber program management costs, thus contributing funds for other state purposes;

• raise enough revenue from timber harvest sales, hunting licenses, minerals leasing, recreation use fees, federal grant programs, and other sources to cover most or all land management costs;

• create new land management methods and administrative systems such as the rapid growth of state-managed wildlife management areas;

• manage state land without hamstringing it with litigation, burdensome rules and regulations, bureaucratic formalities, and other barriers to flexible decision-making that so often afflict the federal land management system;

• avoid management by judicial decision making, which has characterized the federal land management system since the 1970s;

• manage lands as a coordinated system, as opposed to the dispersal of existing federal land management responsibilities among multiple cabinet departments and agencies operating independently to serve their own narrower constituencies.


Ranching, wildlife management, finance, oil & gas, real estate development and management.

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