SALT LAKE CITY — A new agreement between the Utah Department of Natural Resources, the Division of Wildlife Resources and the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration will keep 3.4 million acres of trust lands open to hunters and anglers through 2032.
Trust lands are parcels of land held in trust to benefit 12 state institutions, primarily public schools. When Utah became a state, Congress granted parcels of land to the state and created permanent endowments to support these institutions.
Under the agreement, trust land beneficiaries will receive an annual payment of $1.8 million for access to the land. The Legislature has committed $1 million per year of ongoing general funds, and the DWR will pay the remaining balance.
The current contract also provides for an annual rate of increase of 3.5 percent for DWR’s portion of the payment. For the past 20 years, DWR and SITLA have entered into similar agreements, with the previous agreement expiring last month.Comment on this story
The $1.8 million payment is based on trust lands that qualify for commercial-value hunting. The agreement assures that SITLA won’t lease its lands for commercial hunting purposes, which otherwise would preclude public access.
The DWR also received a 20-year extension on two grazing permits it holds on about 90,000 acres of trust lands in the Book Cliffs area, located in southern Uintah County and northern Grand County. The grazing permit will help maintain available forage for wildlife, including elk, deer and bison.