Federal Land Ownership: Overview and Data [March 3, 2017]   [open pdf - 1MB]

"Today the federal government owns and manages roughly 640 million acres of land in the United States. Four major federal land management agencies manage 610.1 million acres of this land, or about 95% of all federal land in the United States. These agencies are as follows: Bureau of Land Management (BLM), 248.3 million acres; Forest Service (FS), 192.9 million acres; Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), 89.1 million acres; and National Park Service (NPS), 79.8 million acres. Most of these lands are in the West, including Alaska. In addition, the Department of Defense (DOD) administers 11.4 million acres in the United States, about 2% of all federal land. The remaining acreage, approximately 3% of all federal land, is managed by a variety of government agencies. Ownership and use of federal lands have stirred controversy for decades. Conflicting public values concerning federal lands raise many questions and issues, including the extent to which the federal government should own land; whether to focus resources on maintenance of existing infrastructure and lands or acquisition of new areas; how to balance use and protection; and how to ensure the security of international borders along the federal lands of multiple agencies. Congress continues to examine these questions through legislative proposals, program oversight, and annual appropriations for the federal land management agencies."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R42346
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html
Media Type:
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