Environews: SITLA threatens to boot hunters

By Amy Brunvand

The Utah State and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) website boasts that “trust lands are open to the general public for hunting,” but if you read down the page you’ll see that the State of Utah pays an annual fee for public access rights. Now SITLA is threatening to jack up the access fee by millions of dollars based on enormous fees that wealthy trophy hunters pay to hunt on private land.

Trust Lands are managed to raise revenue for Utah schools, and Utah Code Section53C requires SITLA to get “fair market value” on leases and sales while specifying that beneficiaries “do not include other governmental institutions or agencies, the public at large, or the general welfare of this state.”  However, SITLA has been held up as a model for how the state of Utah could manage public lands “better” than federal agencies by promoting land uses that raise money. With the State of Utah in charge, public lands users could expect to pay more—maybe a lot more.

This article was originally published on June 1, 2017.