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Lands and Realty

FY 2015 Northeastern States District Realty Activities

Bureau of Land Management Announces the Proposed Conveyance of an Abandoned Railroad Right-of-Way to the Village of Forsyth, Illinois


Click here to see the Public Notice

Click here to see the Environmental Assessment


To comment on the proposed action, please see instructions in the Public Notice. Comments will be accepted through May 31, 2015.




The Bureau of Land Management Northeastern States Office recently coveyed a 0.82 acre parcel of public land in Marquette County, Michigan.  

Select a link below to learn more about the authorities under which the BLM may transfer public land to other entities, sometimes for the benefit local communities. 

Federal Land Policy and Management Act

In 1976, with the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management (FLPMA) Act, Congress mandated that the Bureau of Land Management retain most of its public lands in Federal ownership for multiple use.  Since the passage of FLPMA, although the availability of lands for public sale has been significantly reduced, lands can be made available for sale if they are found suitable for disposal in a land use plan, and can be identified in one of the following categories:

  • scattered and isolated tracts that are difficult or uneconomical for BLM to manage;
  • tracts acquired by BLM for a specific purpose that are no longer needed for that purpose;
  • land where disposal will serve important public objectives, such as community expansion and economic development.
  • Scattered and isolated parcels of land in the public domain states have been offered for sale through the Northeastern States Field Office’s Lands and Realty Program when they have been identified in a land use plan for disposal and have met the disposal criteria.

By law, public land cannot be sold for less than the fair market value which is determined by an appraisal approved by the Department of Interiors’ Appraisal Services Directorate.

Any land currently being offered for sale will be listed on our website.

BLM National Link - Land Sales

BLM National Link – Appraisals


The Color-of-Title Act provides that any individual, group, or corporation who has evidence giving the appearance of having title to public lands which are administered by the BLM, and legal title to the lands remains vested in the United States, may file a color-of-title claim to obtain ownership of the land.  An applicant will receive a patent conveying clear title to the lands upon payment of the sale price of the lands if they meet the requirements for a class 1 or class 2 claim.

The Northeasatern States Field Office works with the State Office in the processing of Color-of-Title claims through the gathering and documentation of title information.

Color-of-Title Fact Sheet

Recreation and Public Purposes Act

In 1954, Congress passed the Recreation and Public Purposes Act (68 Statute 173; 43 United States Code 869 et. seq.) to encourage the development of a nationwide system of parks and other recreational and public purposes areas.  The Act authorized the Bureau of Land Management to lease or sell public lands for recreational or public purposes to state and local governments, and qualified nonprofit organizations.

The Northeastern States Field Office processes applications under the Recreation and Public Purposes Act for lands in states with public domain lands.  Many of these applications are submitted by State Natural Resource Departments for isolated parcels that are often islands or upland lake lots that are within state forest management areas.  Lighthouse properties have also been conveyed to state or local government or non-profit stewards under the authority of this Act.

Anyone intending to submit an application should consult with our office prior to submitting an application.  The consultation will cover the application filing requirements, processing steps, and BLM goals and objectives.

BLM National Link – Recreation and Public Purposes Act


A withdrawal removes an area of federal land from settlement, sale, location, or entry under some or all of the general land laws, for the purpose of limiting activities under those laws to maintain other public values in the area or reserving the area for a particular public purpose or program.  Withdrawals are also used to transfer jurisdiction over an area of federal land from one Federal department, bureau, or agency to another Federal department, bureau or agency.

In addition to processing withdrawals, the Northeastern States Field Office has processed and continues to process withdrawal revocations for lands withdrawn for lighthouse purposes around the Great Lakes.  NSFO partners with federal, state, local, and non-profit entities to address the long-term restoration and preservation of the historic lighthouse structures on public domain lands.

BLM National Link - Withdrawals

Permits and Leases

Section 302 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) provides the BLM authority to issue leases and permits for the use, occupancy, and development of the public lands.  The regulations establishing procedures for the processing of these leases and permits are found in 43 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 2920.

BLM National Link – Land Use Authorizations