AZ’s Coconino County Opposes Efforts to Transfer Federal Public Lands to the State

Board of Supervisors supports sportsmen’s access and local economies over short-term economic gain.

AZ's Coconino County Opposes Efforts to Transfer Federal Public Lands to the State
AZ’s Coconino County Opposes Efforts to Transfer Federal Public Lands to the State
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. –-( Today the Coconino County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution formally opposing wholesale efforts to transfer America’s public lands to the state of Arizona or local governments.

The vote was held amid efforts by an Arizona State Legislature committee to examine processes for transferring or disposing of public lands within the Grand Canyon State.

The final resolution recognizes that:

  • Tourism related to federal public lands and recreational amenities accounts for more than $1.1 billion in annual economic impact in
  • Coconino County, 40 percent of which is comprised of federal public lands.
  • Coconino County has productive and effective working relationships with local, state, and federal partners that have allowed for collaborative development and implementation of critical initiatives, such as the response to the 2010 Shultz Flood, the Flagstaff
  • Watershed Protection Program, and the Four Forest Restoration Initiative.
  • Arizona currently lacks an adequate budget to fully support and manage its own state lands, including state parks, forests, and other
  • areas—the state often relies on federal support for wildfire and flood emergencies.
  • There is broad consensus on the need to improve public land management and public access by focusing on effective and cooperative management of our federal public lands that includes the appropriate federal, state, tribal, county, and private agencies, plus other local stakeholders.

“Coconino County’s resolution positively recognizes and places value on our traditions of access, recreation, and the application of multiple-use principles on our public lands,” says Art Babbott, Coconino County commissioner for District 1.

“It is clear that efforts to transfer or sell our public lands will negatively impact our citizens, communities, and the regional economy. Access and management of our Western landscapes would be significantly altered if the state government attempts to take control of these public assets.”

The resolution emphasizes that the state does not have the financial resources to responsibly manage public lands—and sportsmen’s groups agree.

“While federal land management certainly isn’t perfect, transferring these public lands to the state is not a viable solution, especially considering that the vast majority of Arizona sportsmen and women depend on public lands for hunting and fishing,” says John Hamill, Arizona field representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

“Arizona simply does not have the funds to maintain roads and recreation facilities, prevent and fight wildfires, restore damaged wildlife habitat, and enforce laws or prevent abuses. Ultimately, the state would be left with no choice other than to sell these lands, which, once privatized, would be off-limits to hunters and anglers forever.”

County support for public lands is crucial at a time when the state legislature is considering a study of land transfer. “Coconino County appreciates the importance of federal public lands to the citizens of our state,” says Tom Mackin, regional director of the Arizona Wildlife Federation.

“In 2012, voters here and throughout Arizona overwhelmingly rejected the idea of transferring ownership of public lands to the state by a two-to-one margin. Today the Board of Supervisors recognized this fact and affirmed that the latest attempt to circumvent the loud voice of public opinion is a bad idea.”

A growing number of Western counties in states like Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado have recently taken formal positions to oppose the sale or transfer of national public lands. To learn more about the land transfer movement across the country, visit

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing. Ensuring sportsmen’s access to quality fish and wildlife habitat safeguards the $646-billion contribution that sportsmen make to the American economy.

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Josh Collier

This is BS I am running for the Coconino County Supervisor District 4 position. I believe the Feds have way too much of our land and it should be given to the States. I also think these non-binding ordinances are a waste of time. My name is Josh Collier here is some info about my campaign!

Paul Fitch

I’m confused. How can the Federal Government control and maintain these lands financially and the States can’t. And what kind of panywaist hunter needs a road? The bigger picture here isn’t hunting or fishing, it is the overreacgh of the federal government in not giving to the states what they should own. Harry Reid was working with the Chinese to get a giant kickbacvk on a solar “farm” deal. He didn’t need the state to own the land, he was able to (or would have been if a group of patriots – who he called domestic terrorists) – hadn’t put… Read more »

Gene Ralno

I keep wondering if this is what we want our federal government to do — manage state lands. Seems to me, transferring to the states all the federal government employees engaged in management of state lands would reduce the bureaucracy and place stewardship of the land closer to the people who live in it. I recognize the need for federal government management of national parks, e.g., Grand Canyon National Park, et al., because parks serve all the states collectively. But the land used for ordinary day-to-day business might be better managed by the state governments or the private sector.


supersheep can you say baaaaaaaa you happy idiots keep sucking up the koolaid.while the corporate one party system keeps robing us all blind and destroying this some real research for once and stop just believing whatever the media tells you.


GOP ruse? Ummmm, didn’t realize Harry Reid and his commie cronies were GOP members.

Mike Workman

Reminds me of James Watt’s repeated efforts to turn federal lands into private land for sale to buddies. This kind of theft has ben going on since before the Revolution. Sure wish people would get wise to it.


The Bundy bird sanctuary invasion was nothing more than a backdoor scam to try and steal public assets for corporate use. I’m glad the people of Arizona were smart enough to thwart the same type of GOP ruse.