Western land program permanently reauthorized

The Hells Canyon Wilderness in Arizona was purchased in 2009 using funds from the Federal Lands Transaction Facilitation Fund to secure public access. ©BLM

The Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act has been permanently reauthorized in the omnibus spending bill Congress passed last month.

The act facilitates strategic land sales by the Bureau of Land Management to provide funding for conservation projects. Authorized in Alaska and 11 western states, the land sales are meant to help consolidate the private-public land checkerboard that restricts public access and complicates conservation management. The act was first authorized in 2000 but had expired in 2011.; Congress has discussed reauthorizing the program for several years.

Lands sold are designated by the BLM for disposal. Profits are deposited into the Federal Land Disposal Account that the BLM, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can use to fund priority conservation projects that range from public recreation access to wildlife habitat management.

Read more on the FLTFA at The Conservation Fund.