Report Confirms What Sportsmen Already Know About State Takeover of Public Land

A study mandated by Wyoming state legislators finds that the realities of public land management make transfer an unworkable idea.

Study On Public Lands on Wyoming
Study On Public Lands on Wyoming
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

CHEYENNE, Wyo. –-( A new state-mandated report on the feasibility of transferring management authority for 25 million publically owned acres to the state of Wyoming concludes that the process would be a financial, administrative, and legislative burden.Ultimately, the report prepared for the Office of State Lands and Investments (OSLI) says that the state would inherit costly land management issues, like wildfire and litigation, if it were to manage the lands that currently belong to all Americans.

The report also cautions that any transfer of land ownership would mean local governments would lose important federal funding sources, such as Payments in Lieu of Taxes.

“We’re not surprised by the findings, although sportsmen in the West should be heartened by the independent confirmation of what experts have been saying for years—the transfer or sale of America’s public lands to individual states would be a financial disaster for local governments and would threaten our access to hunting and fishing,” says Nick Dobric, Wyoming field representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. The organization has been calling for lawmakers to oppose state takeover of public lands since January 2015 and has collected more than 34,000 signatures—2,200 of which are from Wyoming hunters and anglers—on a petition.

The report echoes the concerns that sportsmen have raised about the fundamental differences in the way state and national lands are managed. It reads:

State trust lands are in no way required to be managed for multiple use. In fact, the fiduciary obligation to generate sustainable revenue may be mutually exclusive of the ability to manage for multiple use, and this dichotomy significantly affects program revenues and associated costs. As an example, the OSLI issues grazing leases based on market value and has the ability to exclude other uses on the property (i.e., hunting or camping) because they do not generate revenue and could have a negative impact to the livestock producer.

Cheyenne sportsman Earl DeGroot, one of the local hunters responsible for the popular Wyoming Sportsmen for Federal Lands page on Facebook, hopes this will be the last talk of public land transfer from state lawmakers.

“I hope the legislature will consider the findings of this report, and the overwhelming opposition that Wyoming sportsmen have expressed, and finally put an end to this effort,” says DeGroot. “I feel very fortunate to have hunted elk, deer, antelope, and even bighorn sheep and black bears on federal public lands in Wyoming, and sportsmen are tired of seeing our access jeopardized. The focus of our legislators should be on the real land management solutions and partnerships that will benefit our state.”

A rally in support of public lands, organized by the TRCP and many other hunting, fishing, and outdoor organizations, will take place in Casper on November 5, 2016. Featured speakers will include Chris Madson, conservation writer and former editor of Wyoming Wildlife Magazine, and Land Tawney, president and CEO of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.

For more information on the would-be impacts of land transfer in Wyoming, and a record of meaningful opposition from elected leaders and counties in the Cowboy State, visit

For the full OSLI report, click here.

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I’m not sure why conservatives want to learn the hard way about the benefit of keeping public lands public. In Idaho, they thought it would be a good idea to sell off land until they realized somebody can easily limit their access and it was going to cost the area over $800k. Luckily, in this case, it sounds like there was enough public pressure to maintain some access. But with the next case, they might not be so lucky. Go ahead, give up what’s yours!


The Constitution Specifically restricts the US Government from owning more than the areas of Washington, DC and necessary land for Government offices and Military bases..
As far as I know, there has been NO Amendment that permits them them to claim “ownership” of wide swaths of land in multiple states.
So, the PEOPLE of these states SHOULD and MUST take the land back from the corrupt Feds.


nothing says that Wyoming MUST continue to manage lands as FedGov do now. Wyoming can write the book the way they want to, and should. No more Fedmoney back to the state? Fine. Change the tax structure to stop the theft ot tax dollars from the states and their residents. Problem sovled. FedGov are ILLEGALLY maintaining control of all public lands. They ALREADY belong, at law, to the states in which they are situate. Let each state manage them as they see fit. And that could include sale of some of those lands, as well. Since the lands are already… Read more »

Dee McClanahan

This “analysis” is right out of liberal think. I find it preposterous. States can and do manage vast areas for multi-use and do benefit from it. To say that states will lose out on due to the loss of government milk money is absurd. That money is forcibly collected from tax payers in the first place. Give states the option to manage their own lands as they and their people see fit. State gov’ts are not supposed to be slaves to the Federal tax dollar.


Last night it occurred to me just why the Feds don’t want to give all these lands back to the states. When it comes time to declare a One World Government it will be so much smoother if half of the lands in the USA are already under control of the Feds. One Bill and zip it transfers the entire BLM lands to the United Nations. No messing around with fifty state legislatures who object to the idea of surrendering our Sovereignty, our Constitution and our Bill of Rights. Our National Parks are already under the control of the United… Read more »


Expect the NPS Rangers to undergo a uniform change. Instead of the current “Smokey” campaign hats and green uniforms, it will blue helmets and AK-47’s carried by non English speaking soldiers.


Thank you. I have been saying nearly the same thing for YEARS. The “un” does not have the right to control ANY property within the United States of America. The Federal Government does NOT – – – – – OWN ANY lands. The lands upon which the federal buildings, storage, military and anything else is under a LOAN agreement with the State wherein that facility is located. Again, according to the Constitution, the Federal Government does NOT own any land. The “BLM” (Bureau of Land Management) is controlled by a foreign organization. They need to be disbanded – – –… Read more »