Land transaction process

  • The DNR routinely reviews and enters into a variety of land transactions with private landowners in an effort to improve efficiencies in management, ensure public access to public lands, and focus ownership in priority areas.
  • The DNR director makes the final decision on all land transactions following completion of a thorough multi-level and multi-disciplinary review process and a recommendation from the internal Land Exchange Review Committee.
  • Among the most common land transactions that the DNR considers are land exchanges and land disposals. Both of these types of transactions are thoroughly vetted at multiple levels and from a variety of perspectives.
  • Exchanges
    • Exchanges are an effective tool for the DNR to consolidate ownership and acquire desired properties while also divesting of state land that does not assist in accomplishing the DNR’s mission.
    • Of primary focus for the DNR is to improve management and enhance the public's enjoyment and use of state land by acquiring the private parcels that are adjacent to existing state land and lie within DNR project boundaries. To achieve this, consideration is regularly given to proposals that offer land within the project boundaries in exchange for state land may be considered for disposal.
    • Private lands offered to the DNR must have approximately equal or greater value, based on an appraisal, than the market value of the state lands being considered for disposal through a proposed exchange.
    • All proposed land exchanges are thoroughly reviewed following the Land Transaction Application process, which includes a multi-divisional, multi-level review applying specific criteria.

 

  • Land disposals
    • The DNR will consider divesting of state-managed lands if the transaction enhances the management of natural resources or provides other public benefits. Each application that is submitted seeking to acquire state land is evaluated on its own merits.
    • Similar to exchange proposals, all private landowner-initiated disposal proposals are reviewed through the Land Transaction Application process.
    • DNR also routinely reviews state land ownership to determine if lands are assisting in accomplishing the DNR mission and those parcels that are determined to not meet these criteria are recommended for disposal.
    • In general, the DNR will only consider the direct sale of state-managed land to an individual under the following circumstances:
      • To resolve a long-term trespass of structures or infrastructure on state-managed land where it has been determined that a sale of the land would be in the best interest of the public.
      • The state-managed land does not have any legal or physical access and the surrounding property is entirely owned by one individual landowner.
    • All other parcels of state land that are determined to be surplus are sold via auction.
    • In order for a parcel of state-managed land to be declared surplus, by statute the DNR must consider all of the following:
      • Whether the sale will not materially diminish the quality or utility of other state-managed land adjoining the land to be sold.
      • Whether the sale is in the best interest of this state, giving due regard to the variety, use, and quantity of lands then under the control of the DNR.
      • Whether the sale will resolve an inadvertent trespass.
      • Whether the sale will promote the development of the forestry or forest products industry or the mineral extraction and utilization industry or other economic activity in this state.