Keep Public Lands in Public Hands


America’s 640 million acres of federal public lands are the backbone of our rich outdoor heritage. However, some extremist politicians would like to sell off YOUR public lands to the highest bidder and close off access forever. Please join us in the continued fight to keep public lands in public hands!


Current Anti-Public Lands Legislation

Congress: HR 1484 - Seize Public Lands to State Control


Congress: HR 1484 - OPPOSE


Congressman Amodei introduced HR 1484 which includes SJR 1 language. The bill will direct the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior to convey certain Federal lands to the State of Nevada in fulfillment of the Nevada Statehood Enabling Act, and for other purposes. Read the text by clicking here.

How does changing ownership of the Nevada land from federal to state impact our public lands?

Currently, the federal government loses nearly $100 million dollars per year on average managing public land in Nevada. This is a cost that our state government is in no position to bear. A likely result would be the massive sell off of our public lands into private hands, cutting off access, and allowing some of our best places to be developed. 

Nevada has a history of selling state lands into private control. Even if the state were to keep the lands in the state portfolio, access and uses would be restricted, similar to the way that access and use is restricted on the 3,000 of state trust lands that the state currently owns. Many Western states have very limited uses of their state lands and many states charge access to outdoor recreation users.

Economic Impact of Public Lands

People love public lands and they will travel, spend money, and relocate to areas that are in proximity to public lands, especially protected public lands. Below is a list of recently published reports and studies that have sought to quantify this impact.   

  • In January 2016, for the sixth year in a row, the State of the Rockies Project, in conjunction with Lori Weigel, Public Opinion Strategies and Dave Metz, Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, released the Conservation in the West Poll. The survey, conducted in seven western states, explored bi-partisan opinions in each state and for the six-state region concerning conservation, environment, energy, the role of government, trade-offs with economies, and citizen priorities. This year the survey broke new ground by polling in the state of Nevada for the first time in the poll's six-year history. 
    • Polling results in Nevada revealed that 72% of voters believe that public lands benefit our economy; 73% of GOP voters, 78% of independent voters, and 80% percent of Democrat voters believe conservation is important in candidate selection; 52% of Nevadans oppose state takeover of public lands, with only 39% of Nevadans strongly supporting the idea.
  • In April 2016, the Pew Charitable Trusts published a study titled "Quiet Recreation on Public Lands: Economic Contribution 2014.
    • The study summarized the economic impact of non-motorized outdoor activities on BLM-managed land across the U.S. In Nevada alone, there were 3.9 million visits to BLM lands in 2014 generating $168 million in direct spending, $172 million in overall spending, and over 1,600 jobs. You can read a summary on the measured impact in Nevada here.
  • In February 2016, Headwaters Economics, a non-profit organization, released a study titled “Federal Lands in the West: Liability or Asset?” finding that rural counties in the West with more federal lands or protected federal lands performed better on average than their peers with less federal lands or protected federal lands in four key economic measures: population, employment, personal income and per capita income.
    • From 1970-2014, western rural counties with the highest share of federal lands on average had faster population, employment, personal income, and per capita income growth than their peers with the lowest share of federal lands.
    • Similarly, from 1970-2014, counties with the highest share of protected federal lands on average performed better for population, employment, personal income, and per capita income growth than those with the least protected federal lands.
    • Some rural counties are struggling and are searching for ways to benefit from nearby federal lands. While every county has unique circumstances, the changing economy of the West has impacted all counties and altered the role and importance of nearby public lands
  • In March 2015, the Center for Western Priorities produced a report titled “The Golden Rush: How Public Lands Draw Retirees and Create Economic Growth.”
    • The study concluded that retirees are three times more likely to move to Western counties with protected lands. The report describes the multiplier effect that new retirees have on the economy and how new jobs are created in many industry sectors including health services, construction, housing, banking, restaurants, and entertainment. 
  • February 2013, the Outdoor Industry Association released a report that calculated the economic impact of outdoor recreation in the United States in 2012. You can read the study on this link:
    • In Nevada alone, outdoor recreation generated $14.9 billion in consumer spending, $1 billion in state and local tax revenue, 147,600 jobs were attributed to outdoor recreation generating $4.8 billion in wages and salaries.



Additional Resources

The Mining Burden: Why State Land Seizures Could Cost Billions

Debunked: 4 Myths About Public Lands (Wilderness Society,  March 18, 2016)

One View: Transfer of Public Lands to Nevada Still a Bad Idea (Reno Gazette Journal. May 17, 2016)

One View: Nevada Can't Afford to Run Public Lands (Reno Gazette Journal. November 17, 2015)