The Arizona State Land Department manages Arizona’s Trust lands. Arizona has approximately 9.28 million surface acres and 9 million subsurface acres of Trust lands. The Land Department’s sells a relatively small amount of land each year to earn money for Arizona’s public schools. There are more than 8.4 million acres of open space on State Trust land currently under agriculture and grazing leases.
Trust lands are managed by State Land Commissioner Lisa Atkins. In 2018, Atkins proposed a land swap that could have resulted in thousands of acres of national forest ending up in state control. The proposal, which was criticized for lacking transparency and local consultation, was ultimately suspended.
Notable Activities and Statements on Public Lands Policy
State Land Commissioner Lisa Atkins proposed transferring national forest land to state control.
Arizona Land Commissioner Lisa Atkins proposed a land swap that could have resulted in thousands of acres of Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff getting transferred to state control. Atkins said “local participation, transparency, and government consultation” was her “intent,” but she had not “had the chance to do all of those things before…[the] proposals were published.” Many people were concerned that recreation access could be restricted, that forest management would suffer, and the lands could eventually be developed. The land swap was ultimately suspended. [Emery Cowan, “Reboot: Swap involving Flagstaff-area lands takes heat, suspended,” Arizona Daily Sun, 03/13/18]