The majority of lands we currently hold in trust today are a patchwork of tracts remaining from the 1850 Swamp Land Grant. Most of the original granted lands were sold over 100 years ago. Consolidating our holdings while enhancing public access and overall timber asset value is critically important to our work, and has increased management efficiencies, public access and timber revenue potential while increasing the value of existing trust lands
Land Bank authority
In April 2006, the Legislature unanimously approved “land bank” legislation to enhance our ability to implement the Board approved consolidation plan. For the first time in our history, we were granted authority to “bank” proceeds from land sales for future acquisition. The Land Bank law applied several important conditions to the program:
- BCPL land ownership can not exceed the 77,844 acre cap.
- Land purchases must increase timber management efficiencies or improve public access.
Land bank authority provides much greater flexibility to:
- Manage the land more efficiently.
- Improve public access for hunting, fishing and recreation.
- Increase timber revenue.
- Increase value of School Trust lands.
- Prevent forest fragmentation.
Land Bank sales and purchases
Since the inception of the Land Bank Program on April 19, 2006, the BCPL has:
- Sold 15,462.06 acres and purchased 13,856.86 acres.
- Increased productive timber base by a total of 19%.
- Increased acres accessible to the public by nearly 18%.
This realignment has increased the value of School Trust Lands significantly. It has also greatly increased our ability to generate future timber revenues. BCPL now harvests about 33% more timber than before Land Bank due to a larger timber base and greater management efficiencies.
In 2009 the BCPL began the process of offering for sale its isolated, unproductive tracts to private parties by sealed bid. An independent appraisal of those lands is conducted prior to offering the parcels for sale. Criteria for evaluating potential land acquisitions include: the potential for good timber production, ownership of the parcel provides improved public access, and whether the parcel blocks well with existing Trust Lands, thus improving timber management efficiency.
All School Trust Lands are open to the public for hunting, fishing, trapping and other forms of public recreation. Some School Trust Lands, however, are surrounded by private property and we urge visitors to respect private property rights by requesting permission to cross private lands to access them. For information on how to access School Trust Lands, contact our Forest Supervisor.
To view a map of School Trust Land total acreage by county, click here