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Know the West

KDNK interviews HCN intern Kindra McQuillan about the land transfer movement

A Utah bill could set a precedent for transferring federal lands to state control, if it goes forward.


In February 2015, Utah state Sen. Jim Dabakis put forward a surprising bill that would force the state to act on its attempts at transferring federal public land into the state's control. If passed, Dabakis’ bill would force the state attorney general to make good on the Transfer of Public Lands Act and sue the federal government to move 20 million acres of public land to the state. “The intent of the bill is to once and for all settle the question about who owns public lands in Utah,” Dabakis, a Democrat who opposes the transfer act, told High Country NewsOther states have bills working their way through the legislature, to study the feasibility of transferring federal lands. Read Kindra McQuillan's story on Utah's efforts here.

North Sixshooter on Indian Creek is on Utah's 30-plus million acres of federal land, which some legislators seek to transfer to state hands. Photograph courtesy of Todd Burritt.