Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service

Project Prologue

State Trust Lands

National parks and Monuments /Utah School Trust Land and Federal Land Exchange
Governor Mike Leavitt and Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt unveiled a historic land swap between the state and the federal government in May of 1998. The agreement implemented the largest public land exchange identified anywhere in the continental United States.

The Federal Government Received:

  • All state inholdings in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument 175,000 acres
  • All state land inholdings in Utah’s National Parks/National Recreation Areas 69,700 acres
  • All state inholdings in the Navajo and Goshute Indian Reservations 45,200 acres
  • Nearly all state inholdings within the National Forests 70,100 acres
  • Alton Coal Field Tracts Previously Designated Unsuitable for Mining 2,500 acres
  • Total Surface Acreage to be Received by the Federal Government 362,500 acres
  • Additional Mineral-Rights-Only Acreage 90,900 acres

The State of Utah Received:

  • $50,000,000 in cash immediately following enactment of legislation
  • $13,000,000 additional to be generated from the sale of unleased coal, for the benefit of the Utah Permanent School Fund
  • More than 160 million tons of coal
  • 185 billion cubic feet of coal bed methane resources
  • A total of approximately 150,600 acres of land and minerals

Benefits of the agreement:

  • Diversified Portfolio for School Trust Lands
  • Resolved Long Standing Disputes
  • Environmental Protection for some incredible landscapes
  • More Efficient Management of Lands
  • Benefits Utah’s Native Americans
  • Existing Stakeholders and Users are Protected
  • Fair and Equitable Exchange
  • Economic Development Potential for State Trust Land obtained

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Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service