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Examining the federal government’s control of Idaho’s public lands

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Federal land is defined as land that is owned by the United States federal government. The Property Clause in Article 4 Section 3 of the United States Constitution gives the federal government the right to manage and purchase land and regulate the activities that take place on that land. 


The federal government owns approximately 640 million acres of federal land, which comprises about 28% of the 2.27 billion total acres of land in the United States.

The federal government’s land management has faced sometimes intense criticism from the general public. Some argue the federal management is ineffective, some say too much land is owned by the federal government, and some contend the land has economic benefits and should be returned to private citizens. 


  1. The federal government manages more than two-thirds of Idaho’s land – the 3rd highest of any state​                           

  2. To compensate, a federal program called “PILT” was created.                                 

  3. Even under PILT, state management can produce higher revenue than the current system of federal management                                                   

  4. Unfortunately, there is a distinct failure to manage and protect the land owned by the federal government                                                          

  5. Idaho and its citizens would benefit if the federal government transferred some control to the states

Green Forest
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