Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

From 0.3 to 81.1: What percentage of each state is owned by the federal government? (50 items)

By , Deseret News

March 7, 2014

The debate over federal lands in Utah is long and ongoing, with recent bills like Utah's 2012 "Transfer of Public Lands Act" advocating for state control and politicians insisting that states are better able to manage their land than the federal government.

In Utah's 2014 legislative session, multiple bills regarding federal lands have been presented, including HB164, HB151, HB183, HB341, HCR10 and HCR13.

The issue of federal lands extends beyond Utah's borders, however. According to a 2012 Congressional Research Service report, the federal government owns roughly 635 million acres of the 2.27 billion acres in the U.S., and states felt the pinch of that federal control in October 2013 when federal locations were shuttered during the government shutdown. Utah led in paying to open its eight national parks and saw $10 million spent in parks and gateway communities in return for the state's spending nearly $1 million, a recent report showed.

When states have federal lands within their borders, those states can receive Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), which are federal monies given to local governments as payment for property taxes lost to non-taxable federal lands, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior. In 2013, the states received roughly $400 million in PILT payments, up from the $393 million sent out in 2012.

Here's a look at some numbers surrounding federal land within the United States, from the percentage of federal land per state (with a high of 81.1 percent and a low of 0.3 percent) to PILT payments per state and the economic benefits of national park tourism.

Sources: Federal Land Ownership: Overview and Data, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service

>> Landscape Arch in Arches National Park, Utah, backed by the Milky Way galaxy.

1 of 50. Connecticut

Total state acreage: 3,135,360

Total federal land acreage: 8,557

Federal land percentage of state: 0.3%

Number of national parks:2

Number of visitors to national parks (2012): 21,465

Economic benefits from national park tourism (2012): $1,200,000

Payments in Lieu of Taxes (2012): $29,612

Payments in Lieu of Taxes (2013): $28,900

>> The Weir Farm, the only National Park in Connecticut, is shown in this recent photo.

2 of 50. Iowa

Total state acreage: 35,860,480

Total federal land acreage: 122,602

Federal land percentage of state: 0.3%

Number of national parks: 2

Number of visitors to national parks (2012): 207,352

Economic benefits from national park tourism (2012): 11,500,000

Payments in Lieu of Taxes (2012): $466,912

Payments in Lieu of Taxes (2013): $453, 945

>> Pink flowers bloom around the Birthplace Cottage at the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in Iowa.

3 of 50. Kansas

Total state acreage: 52,510,720

Total federal land acreage: 301,157

Federal land percentage of state: 0.6%

Number of national parks: 5

Number of visitors to national parks (2012): 101,752

Economic benefits from national park tourism (2012): $4,600,000

Payments in Lieu of Taxes (2012): $1,131,373

Payments in Lieu of Taxes (2013): $1,104,649

>> This Sept. 22, 2011 photo shows a hiking trail which leads to the Lower Fox Creek one-room schoolhouse at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve near Strong City, Kan. The 11,000 acre preserve gives tourists a glimpse of what settlers on the Kansas prairie would have seen.

4 of 50. New York

Total state acreage: 30,680,960

Total federal land acreage: 211,422

Federal land percentage of state: 0.7%

Number of national parks: 22

Number of visitors to national parks (2012): 12,633,278

Economic benefits from national park tourism (2012): $446,400,000

Payments in Lieu of Taxes (2012): $152,301

Payments in Lieu of Taxes (2013): $144,520

>> Rudy and Susie Baeumel, visiting from Colorado, take in views of the Hudson River and Hudson Valley from the U.S. Military Academy on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, in West Point, N.Y.

5 of 50. Rhode Island

Total state acreage: 667,120

Total federal land acreage: 5,248

Federal land percentage of state: 0.8%

Number of national parks: 1

Number of visitors to national parks (2012): 51,944

Economic benefits from national park tourism (2012): $2,800,000

Payments in Lieu of Taxes (2012): $0

Payments in Lieu of Taxes (2013): $0

>> In this July 30, 2009 file photo, visitors stand outside the Touro Synagogue in Newport, RI., the oldest existing Jewish house of worship in the United States.
1. conservative scientist
Lindon, UT,
March 7, 2014

There is information in the above report that is not accurate. The most obvious to me is that the number of "National Parks" in each state is incorrect (If one assumes that the same methodology for calculating Utah's National Parks in the article was applied to other states). Utah has 5 National Parks (Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef) - not 13. We may have 8 other Federal areas such as National Monuments, but they are not National Parks. A very quick Google search indicates the other states have far fewer National Parks than stated in the article as well. Perhaps the category could be adjusted to state "National Parks, National Monuments, National recreation areas, National Forests, and other Federally controlled areas" or whatever the truth actually is. It may seem as though I'm nitpicking, but it makes me wonder if the other numbers and data presented in the article may be off by the same margin - if things may have been lumped together into a category and the data is inaccurate. It is simply sloppy data gathering and reporting. Make everything accurate and the reliability of the entire story is enhanced.

2. Jackie Hicken
Salt Lake City, UT,
March 7, 2014

The information regarding the number of national parks in each state is taken directly from the National Park Service website. According to the National Park Service website's section, "Utah By The Numbers," Utah has "13 national parks."

3. Vanceone
Provo, UT,
March 7, 2014

What percentage of each state is owned by the Federal Government? According to the liberals and Obama: Not enough, not until it's 100 % owned or controlled.

Because until you have to beg the EPA, the IRS, and every other government agency to build a shed and pay through the nose in fees, impact statements, taxes, more taxes, bribes to local democratic politicians to introduce a bill to allow you to build your shed, etc it's never enough.

4. royce
West Jordan, UT,
March 7, 2014

Bret Webster's photo of Landscape Arch and the Milky Way is pretty awesome. I teach "NightScape" photo workshops in the national parks, and I know that taking a photo like this is quite difficult and requires a lot of skill and artistry. However, everyone needs to know that a shot from this angle (under the arch) is against park regulations. An area about 100 feet around the arch was roped off many years ago due to a large rock fall that happened in 1991. Photographing under the arch is considered dangerous by the park service and is against their regulations.

5. GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA,
March 7, 2014

The Tea Party takeover of state governments proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Federal Lands should NEVER be transferred over to State Control.

State Governments are too-easily purchased by well-heeled would-be plutocrats like the Koch brothers, who would knock down Delicate Arch and build a parking lot in its place if they thought they could make some money off of it.