A Notice of Decision from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) opens access to certain hunting areas in Tooele County, Utah for the first time. Read more about how this exchange of public and private lands increases recreational and economic opportunities in the BLM press release below:

Consistent with the Administration’s priority of being a good neighbor and better serving local communities, the Bureau of Land Management has released a Notice of Decision (NOD) for the exchange of public and private land in Skull Valley, located in Tooele County, Utah. The exchange provides the public with its first-time right to access certain recreation areas, including those for big game hunting, preserves wildlife habitat and historical resources, and improves management of Utah’s public lands. The NOD initiates a 45-day public protest period, ending at 4:30 p.m. MST on Sept. 14, 2018.

“Land exchanges like this reflect the BLM’s commitment to being a good neighbor in a way that mutually benefits federal and private lands,” said BLM Deputy Director Brian Steed.  “This is an agreement in which everyone, especially those seeking increased public land access and recreational opportunities, comes out ahead.”

The proponents, Castle Rock Land and Livestock Company and the Skull Valley Company Ltd., will convey 11,586.32 acres of private land to the BLM in exchange for 12,603.27 acres of non-contiguous federal land. The land exchange is pursuant to Section 206 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976.

“We are pleased that we were able to come to a resolution that supports the goals of all parties involved,” said land exchange proponent Chris Robinson, a local rancher and neighboring landowner. “This land exchange will improve the management of both federal and private lands, and will provide economic and recreational opportunities for the local community.”

On Sept. 15, 2017, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3356, directing bureaus to seek ways to support and expand hunting and fishing, enhance conservation stewardship, improve wildlife management, and increase outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans.  This NOD is the latest example of the Secretary fulfilling his promise to better serve our local communities.

The lands proposed for exchange are located an hour west from the Salt Lake Valley and will increase public access to big game hunting areas, historical landmarks and recreational areas, and will gain additional lands for sage-grouse habitat, wild horse herd management areas, and critical winter range for mule deer. In addition, the BLM will acquire a water right at Slater Spring, which is a valuable water source for the wild horse herds and wildlife such as mule deer, pronghorn, rocky mountain elk, and upland game birds.

The BLM encourages the public to read the associated planning documents and protest details located at https://go.usa.gov/xUaCN. Written protests may be mailed or hand delivered to:

Matt Preston, Field Office Manager (Attn: Mary Higgins)
BLM Salt Lake Field Office
2370 S. Decker Lake Blvd.
West Valley City, UT 84119

Or faxed to:

801-977-4397 (Attn: Mary Higgins)

For additional information, please contact Mary Higgins at (801) 977-4300. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to leave a message or question with the above individual. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Replies are provided during normal business hours.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $75 billion in sales of goods and services throughout the American economy in fiscal year 2016—more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior. These activities supported more than 372,000 jobs.