Bureau of Reclamation:

Land-Use Agreements With the City of Scottsdale, Arizona

T-RCED-91-74: Published: Jul 11, 1991. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 1991.

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GAO discussed two recreation land-use agreements between the Bureau of Reclamation and Scottsdale, Arizona, to determine whether the: (1) agreement terms and conditions are consistent with federal law; (2) approved activities are consistent with applicable agency policies and guidance; and (3) potential exists for the Bureau to enter into similar agreements elsewhere. GAO found that: (1) while the agreements themselves were not contrary to federal law, the absence of comprehensive oversight policies and guidance led local officials to base many key agreement decisions on personal judgment; (2) the law does not require nor preclude federal government compensation for the use of its lands; (3) Scottsdale did not compensate the government for the use of its lands because local Bureau officials determined that leasing the lands supported the Bureau's goal of providing its lands for recreation; (4) since Bureau guidance governing land-use agreements does not address the issue of public access, local Bureau officials approved a reservation policy at a golf complex that limits public use; (5) the Bureau has not developed guidance on establishing public-use fees for recreational activities on its lands; and (6) although similar agreements are being negotiated at the regional or local level, the Bureau does not maintain centralized information, making it difficult to determine whether similar agreements were pending.

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