Managing State Trust Lands Fiduciary Duty in the Changing West
Challenges & Opportunities
Today's state trust land managers in the West face many challenges. Unprecedented growth is increasing demands on public education funding, including revenues generated by state trust lands. Western state trust lands traditionally have been managed for natural resource extraction — including timber, oil and gas. Given the changing demographics and economies of many western states, state trust land managers also are experimenting with new trust activities that recognize valued services these lands provide in terms of open space, watershed protection, fish and wildlife and recreation.
The State Trust Lands Project is an effort to broaden the range of land use information, tools and policy options available to state trust land managers and diverse stakeholders for the longterm sustainable management of trust lands. For example, the project conducts research and policy analyses on key growth and development issues in the West, engages in model projects that develop, implement and highlight innovative approaches to state trust land planning, development and conservation use and engages in policy efforts to inform discussions on state trust land laws and regulations in key western states.
Informed by a broad research and policy analysis agenda established by the first State Trust Lands Research and Policy Analysis Roundtable (October 2004), our project's work focuses on strategies and approaches that;
- Engage in deliberate internal and external planning activities
- Establishing comprehensive asset management frameworks that balance short-term revenue generation with longer-term value maintenance and enhancement
- Incorporating collaborative planning approaches with external stakeholders to achieve better trust land management
- Encourage real estate development activities that employ sustainable land disposition tools and large-scale planning processes, especially in fast-growing areas
- Support conservation projects that enhance revenue potential, offer ecosystem services, and allow multiple uses of trust lands