A Model for Federal Public Land Surface Rights' Management
Ronald W. Spahr
Mark A. Sunderman
The U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management control larges tracts of Federal public lands mainly in the western United States. Management goals for lands controlled by these agencies are described as "multiple-use." Some of the lands are forested, mountainous, contain wildlife or possess other scenic and recreational attributes and warrant the federal multiple-use designation; however, a significant portion of the land, especially that under BLM control, contains little scenic, recreation or wildlife value, thus offering very little multiple-use potential and non-pecuniary value. Much of the land not warranting multiple-use potential has never been titled to anyone except the Federal Government (never sold nor homesteaded). Inherent in the management of all Federal lands is a defacto fiduciary responsibility to prudently and efficiently manage these assets. We develop a framework that measures present values of both quantitative and qualitative economic benefits and costs of Federal public lands to assist managers and policy makers in determining future management policy. By applying this framework, Federal public land policymakers may be aided in fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities.
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