public land

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public land,

in U.S. history, land owned by the federal government but not reserved for any special purpose, e.g., for a park or a military reservation. Public land is also called land in the public domain. Except in Texas, which made retention of its public lands one of the conditions for joining the Union, there are no state public lands. Seven of the original states ceded their western lands to the federal government when they entered the Union. Additional public land was acquired with the Louisiana Purchase (1803), Florida (1819), Oregon (1846), the Mexican Cession (1848), the Gadsden Purchase (1853), and Alaska (1867). Almost as soon as public land was acquired the federal government began to dispose of it through grants to states, railroad companies, settlers (see Homestead ActHomestead Act,
1862, passed by the U.S. Congress. It provided for the transfer of 160 acres (65 hectares) of unoccupied public land to each homesteader on payment of a nominal fee after five years of residence; land could also be acquired after six months of residence at $1.
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, 1862), colleges (see land-grant colleges and universitiesland-grant colleges and universities,
U.S. institutions benefiting from the provisions of the Morrill Act (1862), which gave to the states federal lands for the establishment of colleges offering programs in agriculture, engineering, and home economics as well as in the
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), and cash sales. It was charged that large companies frequently acquired extensive holdings by dishonest means, and many of the new owners obtained considerable revenue by selling the land. A reaction to this easy policy set in toward the end of the 19th cent., and steps were taken to ensure the conservation of natural resourcesconservation of natural resources,
the wise use of the earth's resources by humanity. The term conservation came into use in the late 19th cent. and referred to the management, mainly for economic reasons, of such valuable natural resources as timber, fish, game, topsoil,
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 by withdrawing public lands from sale. Thereafter the government leased such land for grazing, lumbering, mining, the harnessing of water power, and other purposes, while maintaining regulatory control. By the 1970s there was considerable controversy over the need to make the best use of the public land's valuable resources while still preserving the land for future use and expanded recreational activities. Most of the nation's remaining public land is in the western part of the country, about half of it in Alaska.


See E. L. Peffer, The Closing of the Public Domain (1951, repr. 1972); W. C. Calef, Private Grazing and Public Lands (1960); V. Carstensen, ed., The Public Lands (1962); P. Gates, History of Public Land Law Development (1968); M. J. Rohrbough, The Land Office Business (1968).

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References in periodicals archive ?
HB 2547 and HB 2557 go against the wishes of Arizonans, the majority of whom oppose the transfer of public lands to the state.
public lands are firmly rooted in the past when the West and the demands
BHA, the fastest-growing sporting organization in the country, is leading the fightto ensure access to public lands through membership and advocacy.
Depriving the landless poor of public lands that they have cleared and been cultivating for generations would be unfair, unjust, and even politically unwise.
Public lands are a gift for which all Americans should be grateful, and Steven Davis, a professor of political science and environmental studies, believes these lands should remain public.
Author Steven Davis (political science and environmental studies, Edgewood College) uses plain language and a conversational tone in this argument against the privatization of public lands. The book begins with an overview of the legal infrastructure related to public land and the history of the system at local, state, and federal levels.
Since I live in the center of the country, it isn't unrealistic for me to travel to public lands in many directions.
The ongoing review of national monuments - and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's recent recommendation to roll back protections for places like Bears Ears in Utah and Cascade-Siskiyou here in Oregon - threatens communities like ours that rely on public lands. If President Trump and Secretary Zinke act to reduce the size of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, it would leave thousands of acres vulnerable to development, and significantly compromise the opportunity for the surrounding communities to develop their outdoor recreation economies.
Because of the checkerboard pattern, the long sides of public sections are bordered by inaccessible private land, but the corners of these public tracts often touch accessible public land. "Schaaf" thinks if he simply climbs the corner posts, and never sets his hunting boots on the adjacent private land, he can access the landlocked sections.
There are 595,798 total acres of public land within a 60-minute drive of the city, and 551.88 miles of public shoreline within the same drive.
I read the article titled "Public Land Time Bomb." The article noted Montana has one of the best and most liberal water/stream access laws on record, which didn't come easy.