Federal Lands:

Information on Land Owned and Acquired

T-RCED-96-73: Published: Feb 6, 1996. Publicly Released: Feb 6, 1996.

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GAO discussed historical changes in the federal government's land ownership over the last 30 years. GAO noted that: (1) as of the end of fiscal year 1994, the 4 major land management agencies controlled a total of 623 million acres; (2) the 78 million-acre decrease in federally managed lands between 1964 and 1994 was mainly due to transfers of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land to Alaska and Native Alaskans; (3) BLM also transferred over 90 million acres to the Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service; (4) federally managed acreage increased in 46 states and decreased in 4; (5) most states have less than 5 percent of their land under federal management, but western states have the largest percentage of federally managed lands; (6) excluding large land transfers, federal land acreage increased by about 34 million acres; and (7) the 4 agencies acquired over 10.8 million acres from nonfederal parties, mainly through purchases and exchanges.

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