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An Analysis of a Transfer of Federal Lands to the State of Utah

Utah H.B. 148 seeks the transfer of title to 31.2 million acres of land currently managed by the federal government to the state of Utah. This accounts for more than 60 percent of the state’s land area, or five times the amount of land the state currently owns and manages. A land transfer of this magnitude would be a major shift in the current economic structure of Utah. In light of this, H.B. 142 was enacted in 2013 to require a study and economic analysis of the proposed land transfer. This study responds to portions of Section 63J-4-606 of that bill. In particular, it provides information about the current uses of land, the economic effects and non-economic benefits of those uses, and the ramifications and impacts to the state assuming the lands are transferred. It also describes the programs and budgets of, and revenues generated by, the federal agencies that now manage the lands identified in H.B. 148. 


OHV Use on Public Lands

This document reports on the social dimensions of Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Use in Utah with the intent of informing future recreational and public lands decisions. The document was prepared primarily for the Utah Governor’s Office of Public Lands Policy Coordination, and secondarily for agencies, like the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, and Utah State Parks, that manage Off-Highway Vehicle Use throughout the State.

Public Lands and Utah Communities Survey

This report provides a detailed summary of results from a 2007 statewide survey of Utah residents that was designed to assess the variety of ways in which social and economic conditions are linked to public lands and natural resources across the state. Adult residents from each of Utah’s 29 counties were selected at random for participation in the survey, and asked to complete a mailed questionnaire focusing on public land and resource topics.

OHV Economic Impacts of Land Use Restrictions

Using the data collected in the OHV owner survey questionnaire, a data set consisting of the county destinations of each trip from each county origin was created. Several econometric models were tested to determine the significant variables affecting choices of trip destinations by each origin. These models used travel cost, the percentage of public land open, limited (restricted to specific trails), and closed to off-highway vehicle (OHV) use, the existence of sand dunes, the existence of “red rocks” and a county-specific “dummy” variable. 

Impacts of Wild and Scenic Rivers Designation

Phase 1 of the Utah Governor's Public Lands Policy Coordination Office Socioeconomic Baseline Study was undertaken in order to determine specific issues that were important to both the Utah general population and state, regional, and local government officials. After completion of a general population survey and focus-group type meetings with local government officials, several Phase 2 studies were identified that would fill information gaps regarding various specific issues of public land management and its impact on the state and local communities.