About Idaho BLM

Frequently Asked Questions

Landscape Rock Permits | FOIA  | Homesteading | Public Land Sales | Desert Land Entries | Maps  | Metal Detecting | Mining Claims | Oil & Gas Lease Sales  | Recreation | Wild Horses | Fire

Where do I find Master Title Plats with land ownership, field notes, mining records, Government Land Office information?

All this information can be handled by the BLM Public Room in Boise at 208-373-3890. Hours are 9:00am to 4:00pm Monday-Friday.

Landscape Rock Permits

To learn more and purchase a permit for landscape rock, please see our community pits page. 


Hunting and Fishing

Hunting and Fishing in Idaho is regulated by the State of Idaho Department of Fish & Game.  

What is the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)?

The BLM is an agency in the Department of Interior, in the US Government. The BLM manages 264 million acres of surface acres of public lands located primarily in the 12 Western States, including Alaska. The agency manages an additional 300 million acres of below ground mineral estate located throughout the country. Originally, these lands were valued were valued principally for the commodities extracted from them; today, the public also prizes them for their recreational opportunities and their natural, historical, and cultural resources they contain.

How does the BLM manage the public lands?

The BLM administers public lands within a framework of numerous laws. The most comprehensive of these is the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA). All Bureau policies, procedures and management actions must be consistent with FLPMA and the other laws that govern use of the public lands. It is the mission of the Bureau of Land Management to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Back to top



What is FLPMA?

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 declared it the policy of the United States that:

"....the public lands be retained in Federal ownership, unless as a result of the land use planning procedure provided in this Act, it is determined that disposal of a particular parcel will serve the national interest..." Through FLPMA, Congress made it clear that the public lands should be held in public ownership and managed for "multiple use," defined as: "The management of the public lands and their various resource values so that they are utilized in the combination that will best meet the present and future needs of the American people..."



Metal Detecting

Metal detecting is a recreational activity that people do to find coins, jewelry, and precious metals.  Metal detecting is allowed on BLM lands as long as no artifacts are removed.  Artifacts should be left alone and reported to the appropriate Field Office.  Avoid all cultural and archeological sites.  Metal detecting enthusiasts may remove some rocks (handful) from areas such as picnic areas, campground areas, and recreational sites, but be sure you are not removing rocks from a mining claim.  Mining claims can be researched on the LR2000.   Enthusiasts are only allowed to make minimal surface disturbance (i.e. removing a couple of stones for memories).

If you have any questions regarding your activities, then please contact the appropriate Field Office for authorization.



Mining Claims

How do I locate and file a mining claim?

Before you can locate a claim, you must determine if the lands are, in fact, open to location. You can find this out at any BLM office. No claims can be staked in areas closed to mineral entry under certain acts, regulations, or public land orders. We refer to these as withdrawn lands. The BLM State Offices and Field Offices have appropriate land and mineral status maps and records for you to make this determination, and they are readily available for your inspection.

On lands open to location, you may prospect and properly locate claims and sites. If lands have already been claimed, you may want to find another location. Most State Offices maintain a record of these locations on microfiche. They are available by geographic index, serial number index, claim name index, and claimant's index. The district offices also have geographic and claimant indices for your use.

If your parcel of land is open to location, the next step is staking the claim. Federal law specifies that claim boundaries must be distinctly and clearly marked to be readily identifiable. Individual state statutes have more detailed requirements for marking boundaries. For specific state requirements contact the local BLM State Office.

What documentation is required this year?

Recordation of mining claims -- location certificates for claims and sites must be recorded with BOTH the county recorder's office as well as the BLM State Office. Briefly, the state's deadlines for locations are: LODE CLAIMS - 3 months to monument, claim, and record location certificate with the county; and PLACER CLAIMS - 30 days to monument, claim, and record location certificate with the county. BLM's deadlines for location are: ALL CLAIMS AND SITES - 90 days from date of location to record claims with the BLM State Office.

What is the cost?

Each location or site must be accompanied by a $10 non-refundable service charge. A separate location notice is required for each claim or site recorded.

Back to top 



How can I obtain BLM maps?

Most BLM offices have 1:100,000 (5/8” = 1 mile) USGS area maps for Idaho that indicate land ownership and mineral status. Two sizes of Idaho maps can also be purchased at most offices; a wall size map at 1:500,000 scale (1”= 8 miles) and a smaller version at 1:100,000 that is 2’x 3’. Maps depicting recreation, surface and mineral jurisdiction and wildernesses are normally available at any BLM office.

A map index and order form are available at any BLM State or Field Office to assist you in your selection, or if you'd prefer we will mail you copies. At this time we cannot accept orders over the Internet but hope to in the future.

I know the map that I need, how do I pay for it?

You may send a check or money order for the cost of the maps plus shipping to the BLM State or Field Office. You may also call us Monday through Friday 8-4, with your VISA/MasterCard and maps will be mailed the same day.

The Interagency Visitor Center in Boise sells Forest Service maps and BLM maps for the whole state of Idaho. BLM maps can vary from $4 to $10 and U.S. Forest Service maps are usually $10. They can be purchased at our office during the business hours of 7:45am to 4:30pm Monday-Friday. They can also purchase over the phone if using credit card. 

 Back to top


Oil & Gas Lease Sales

What is the cost of an oil or gas lease?

Each location or site must be accompanied by a $10 no-refundable service charge. A separate location notice is required for each claim or site recorded.

What happened to the "Land Lottery?"

The oil and gas (land) lottery system was discontinued when Congress passed the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act of 1987, which required that all Public Lands available for oil and gas leasing be offered first by competitive leasing. The BLM publishes a free brochure entitled, The Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing System, which can be mailed upon request.

Back to top 



Public Land Sales

Are there any public lands for sale?

Yes. Lands identified as excess to public's and government's needs, or more suited to private ownership are sometimes offered for sale. The following explains the procedures and where to go for more details.

First, it is important to understand the federal government has two major categories of property which it makes available for sale: real property and public lands.

REAL PROPERTY is primarily developed land with buildings, usually acquired by the federal government for a specific purpose, such as a military base or office building. If you are interested in real property, contact the General Services Administration (GSA). This federal agency is responsible for selling developed surplus property.

PUBLIC LAND is undeveloped land with no improvements, usually part of the original public domain established during the western expansion of the United States. Most of this land, which is the responsibility of the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management, is in the 11 western states and Alaska, although some scattered parcels are in the East. (Due to land entitlements to the state of Alaska and to Alaska Natives, no public land sales will be conducted in Alaska in the foreseeable future.)

Where are these public lands?

Almost all are in the western states of Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.

There are also small amounts in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin.

There are no public lands managed by BLM in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, or West Virginia.



Homesteading is no longer available. The Homestead Act was repealed by the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976. The last legal homesteading of public lands was done in Alaska more than a decade ago.

What lands are available?

Although homesteading is a thing of the past, the BLM does have some lands suitable for purchase by private citizens. These are lands that have been identified as unneeded by the federal government or as better utilized in private ownership. By law, these lands are made available for sale at no less than fair market value.

For the most part, the parcels of public land likely to be sold are fairly small, may not have public access, and seldom have stream or water frontage. In all cases, the public lands are sold at no less than their appraised fair market value. You should be aware that rather than pursuing sales of public lands identified for disposal, our present policy is to encourage exchanges of those land parcels for other privately-held lands that will better meet our resource needs.

How are these lands selected for sale?

The law states that BLM can select lands for sale if, through land use planning, they are found to meet one of three criteria:

  1. They are scattered, isolated tracts, difficult or uneconomic to manage;
  2. They were acquired for a specific purpose and are no longer needed for that purpose; or
  3. Disposal of the land will serve important public objectives, such as community expansion and economic development.

Where can I find out about land that is going to be sold?

Your best source is the BLM office with jurisdiction over the area you're interested in. The BLM state offices and their jurisdictions are listed at the end of this document. Sale information will also be published and broadcast in local news media.

Where are land sales held?

They are held near the area to be sold, either at the local BLM office or in a suitable public location.

I'd like to find out what parcels BLM currently has listed for sale. Where can I obtain that information?

BLM state offices listed below are your best source. They can tell you what sales are currently scheduled and what prospects are coming up. You can contact them periodically for the latest details.

If a sale is currently scheduled, information can be requested from BLM describing the property and method of sale.

More detailed information, such as land reports, environmental assessments, etc., is also available upon request for a small copy fee.


Desert Land Entries

Will it be difficult for are to find suitable public lands and meet the requirements of the Desert Land Act in order to receive legal title to the land?

The public lands have been in the process of being settled for many years. Most of the suitable lands for agricultural development have already been placed into private ownership. The remaining acres are managed for multiple uses. There is competition among users for these public lands. With the problems of finding suitable public land, limited water available for irrigation, and the high cost of development, it is extremely difficult to acquire a desert land entry.

Is there a limit on acreage for which I may apply?

You may apply for one or more tracts of land totaling no more than 320 acres.

Where are the lands located?

The lands are located in the States of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

What lands are available?

The lands must be surveyed, unreserved, unappropriated, non-mineral, non-timber, and incapable of producing an agricultural crop without irrigation. The lands must be suitable for agricultural purposes and more valuable for that purpose than for any other. The tracts of land must be sufficiently close to each other to be managed satisfactorily as an economic unit.

Who is qualified to file a desert-land entry?

You must be a citizen of the United States or have declared your intention to become a citizen. You must be 21 years old. You must be a resident in the States of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, or Wyoming. No State residency is required in the State of Nevada.

How much will it cost me to construct an irrigation system?

It is estimated that a 320-acre tract of land will cost you in excess of $250,000 to construct the irrigation system and prepare the land.

How do I get started to apply for a desert-land entry?

You must find lands that you feel can be economically developed and determine the legal land description. You must contact the BLM State Office where the lands are located and verify that the lands are available for desert land application. If the lands are available for desert land application, acquire an application from the State Office and also find out which BLM District administers the lands.

How do I file an application?

You must file an application on Form No. 2520-1. Two copies of this form are required. You must file the application with the administering BLM District Office.

What information must I include in my application?

You must include the description of the lands. You must include evidence of your legal right to the use of water for irrigation. You must secure a permit from the State Department of Water Administration. You must include a detailed description of soil characteristics, irrigation requirements, and economic feasibility. You must include full disclosure of your plans, arrangements--financial and otherwise--pertaining to the development and operation of your desert-land entry. You must personally sign your application. Your application must be accompanied by a non-refundable fee of $15.00 and a partial payment of 25 cents per acre.

What will the BLM do with my application?

The BLM will examine your application for completeness and accuracy, and classify the lands included in the application. The BLM will approve your application if the lands are classified suitable for desert-land entry. The BLM will reject your application if the lands are classified unsuitable for desert-land entry.

If my application is approved, how many years will I have to meet the requirements of the desert land act?

You have four years from the date your application is approved to develop an adequate water supply to reclaim, irrigate, and cultivate all of the lands. One eighth of the land applied for must be properly cultivated and irrigated.

Can a group of individual applicants develop a common water delivery system to reclaim the lands?

Some public lands that might be suitable for desert-land entry are in areas where the cost of delivering water to the lands are so high than an individual applicant cannot establish an economic farm unit. With respect to some of these lands, individual farms within the 320-acre limitation of the Desert Land Act can be established where a group of applicants associate themselves to develop a common water delivery system and share in the cost of such a system.

If I associate myself with a group of individuals to develop a common water delivery system, what will I be required to do?

You must spend your own money or incur a personal liability for the money you spend on the necessary reclamation, irrigation, and cultivation of the entry. You must show that the proposal has engineering feasibility. You must show that the proposal will be economically feasible. The soil conditions and other physical characteristics must support continued production under proper management. You must show that, even with the consideration of properly sharing joint costs, each individual desert-land entry involved in a group proposal is economically and physically feasible.

What is annual proof?

Each year for three years from the date your application is approved, you must account for the money you spend on improvements to reclaim, irrigate, and cultivate the lands.

How much money must I spend on improvements to reclaim, irrigate, and cultivate the entry for annual proof?

You must submit statements of two credible witnesses who can testify to the expenditures made for improvements on your desert-land entry during the preceding year. You must submit itemized statements showing the manner in which the expenditures were made. At the end of the third year you must submit a map or plan showing the character and extent of the improvements placed on the desert-land entry.

If I fail to file for annual proof, what happens to my desert-land entry?

The BLM will not extend your time to meet the annual proof of compliance because there are no provisions in the Act which permit extensions of time to complete work. The BLM will cancel your entry.

Will the BLM conduct an on-site examination of the lands in my desert-land entry to determine whether the requirements of the act have been met?


If I successfully meet the final proof requirement, what happens to my desert-land entry?

You will receive a patent from the BLM which gives you legal title to the lands.

If I fail to make final proof, what happens to my desert-land entry?

The BLM will cancel your entry, unless statutory authority permits the BLM to grant an extension of time or other relief.

If I experience an unavoidable delay in reclaiming and cultivating the lands, will the BLM extend my final proof?

If you clearly show that failure to reclaim and cultivate the land within the four-year period was due to no fault of your own, the BLM may grant you an extension. If you failed to act or were unable to get financial backing to make the required development, the BLM cannot grant you an extension.

Back to top 



Wild Horses & Burros


What are wild horses and burros?

A wild horse or burro is an unbranded, unclaimed, free-roaming horse or burro found on BLM or U.S. Forest Service administered land in the western United States. Wild horses and burros are descendants of animals released by or escaped from Spanish explorers, ranchers, miners, soldiers, or Native Americans.

What kinds of wild horses and burros are available for adoption?

Wild horses are of no particular breed, but some exhibit characteristics associated with specific breeds. A typical wild horse stands about 14 to 15 hands (56-60") and weighs about 900 to 1,100 pounds. Horses are generally solid in color and predominantly sorrels, bays, or browns, although all colors occur. Horses offered for adoption range from several months to nine years of age. Most horse are five years or younger. Burros average about 11 hands (44") and weigh about 500 pounds. They are usually gray in color, although brown and black animals may be available on occasion. Jacks and jennies of all ages are made available for adoption.

How wild is a wild horse or burro?

When a wild horse or burro is offered for adoption it probably hasn't been more than 90 days since it was running in the wild. Therefore, they are not accustomed to people. With kindness and patience, they can be gentled and trained for many uses.

What does it cost to adopt a wild horse or burro?

The adoption fee for each wild horse is $125 and for each wild burro the fee is $75. The is no adoption fee for unweaned foals if they are adopted with their mother. Adopters are responsible for all cost following the adoption including recapture of escaped animals. Adoption fees are non-refundable.

What does it cost to care for a wild horse or burro?

The annual cost of caring for a wild horse or burro can range from $300 to $1,000 or more depending on local costs and conditions. The adoption fee will be the smallest expense.

Where can I learn more about horses or burros?

There is wealth of reading and viewing material on wild horses and burros. Libraries, book stores, video stores, tack stores, and feed stores have books pamphlets, and videos for sale, rent or free for the asking. www.adoptahorse.blm.gov   and www.blm.gov/whb 

How many animals can I adopt?

A qualified person can adopt up to four wild horses or burros within a twelve month period. The BLM can approve the adoption of more than four animals if the adopter can prove they have the facilities and the financial ability to humanely care for all animals. However, an adopter may not receive title to more than four animals within a twelve month period.

How can I qualify to adopt a wild horse or burro?

You must be at least 18 years old, be a resident of the United States, and have no convictions for inhumane treatment of animals. You must also have, or have arranged for, adequate facilities and the financial means to provide for the number of animals adopted. An individual who has expressed an intent to commercially exploit the wild nature of a wild horse or burro may not adopt a wild horse or burro.

How can I adopt an animal?

Complete an application and mail it to the BLM office serving your area. If you wish to adopt at a different location, send your application, and a note explaining why, to the office serving that location. You will be contacted during the application review process. If your application is approved, you will be notified of upcoming adoptions. At the adoption you may have the opportunity to adopt at least one animal. If and when you adopt you will be required to sign a contract, agreeing to provide humane care and treatment for each animal you adopt.

Will the animal belong to me or the Federal Government?

A wild horse or burro belongs to the government until the BLM issues a title to an adopter. When the adopter signs an adoption contract he/she automatically applies for title to an animal. After one year, BLM will send the adopter a Title Eligibility Letter. The adopter must obtain a statement from a qualified person (such as a veterinarian, county extension agent, or humane society representative verifying that the adopter has provided humane treatment. The adopter must return the Title Eligibility Letter and the humane treatment statement to BLM. BLM will then mail the title to the adopter. There are no additional fees involved in the title process.

What facilities are required for a wild horse or burro?

Newly adopted wild horses or burros must be kept in an enclosed corral with a minimum area of 400 square feet (20' by 20' or larger) per animal. This amount of space allows an animal to exercise. Gentled animals must be exercised daily and should have a box stall of at least 144 square feet (12' by 12' or larger) that is well ventilated, drained, and frequently cleaned. Fences must be at least 41/2 feet high for burros and 6 feet high for ungentled horses. Horses under 18 months of age may be kept in corrals with fences 5 feet high. Fences should be of pole, pipe, or plank construction and must not have dangerous protrusions. Barbed wire is not allowed in stalls or corrals. Adopted wild horses and burros must be provided shelter where severe weather (heat, cold, rain, snow, or wind) occurs. Burros are much more susceptible to cold than horses.

What restrictions are there on using my adopted animal?

In general there are no Federal restrictions on how you use your adopted wild horse or burro, other than a wild horse or burro cannot be exploited for commercial purposes that take advantage of the wildness of the animal. After leaving the range all wild animals are protected by state livestock and humane treatment laws.

What should I bring to the adoption?

(1) Cash, money order or certified check is required for payment of the adoption fees. Some adoption centers may accept VISA or Mastercard. Please check with the office conducting the adoption.

Checks should be payable to: USDI-BLM. (2) A halter and lead rope for each animal. A double stitched nylon webber halter is recommended. The lead rope should be about 8-20 feet long, made of cotton or nylon, and of sufficient strength to hold a 1,000 pound animal. The halter buckle should be of similar strength.

What kind of trailer is required to transport a wild horse or burro?

Adopters must provide transportation for their animal from the adoption site to the new home. Another person may transport the animal, but all trailers must meet these standards: 1. Covered top, sturdy walls/floors, and a smooth interior, free from any sharp protrusions. 2. Ample head room. 3. Partitions or compartments to separate animals by size and sex if necessary. 4. Floor covered with non-skid material. 5. Adequate ventilation. Stock trailers are preferred, but other trailers that meet the standards may be used. Drop ramp and two horse trailers are strongly discouraged; some adoption centers may refuse to load a horse into a trailer so equipped. All trucks and trailers may be inspected by BLM before loading. If you have questions about the suitability of a trailer call the BLM office before adoption day.

How do I adopt a wild horse or burro?

Individuals interested in adopting a wild horse or burro may obtain information by writing to the local BLM office.

Free material sent to you includes a How-to-Adopt brochure, questionnaire, and application form. After the requested information is returned to the BLM office and approved, your name will be put on a mailing list for future adoption information.

Back to top 




Where can I get more information about recreational use on public land?

The BLM has a free map "Outdoors America - Recreational Opportunities on Public Lands" that can be obtained at any State BLM office or visit the Web site: www.recreation.gov .

Where can I get a Federal "Golden" Recreation Passport?

The Federal Government has established the Golden Eagle, Golden Age and Golden Access Passports that, when obtained, allow the public to enter fee areas without additional charge. This is very convenient when traveling to several areas that charge an entrance fee. These Federal Recreation Passports are available from the BLM, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Forest information centers.

How do I reserve a campsite?

For most BLM and U.S. Forest Services campsites, call the reservation hotline. The Number is a toll free: 1-877-444-6777. They can also reserve camp sites on the www.recreation.gov website. You NEED to be sure and tell the customer that they are calling a number that reserves the sites only. The reservation number will not have any camp ground information. For the camp ground information they need to call the ranger district that handles that area. They will need to have the campground name when they call the number. The summer hours for the reservation number are between 8:00 am and midnight seven day a week. 

Many BLM campgrounds are first-come, first-serve so be sure to call the field offices to check.

Back to top 



Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

What is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

The Freedom of information Act (FOIA) was enacted in 1966, and it generally provides that any person has a right of access to Federal agency records. This right of access is enforceable in court except for those records that are protected from disclosure by the nine exemptions to the FOIA.

What information is available under the FOIA?

FOIA provides access to agency records generated by that agency (or releasable portions of those records) except those protected from release by nine specific exemptions. The following are the nine FOIA exemptions and the information they cover: Classified national defense and foreign relations information; Internal agency personnel rules and practices; Material prohibited from disclosure by another law; Trade secrets and other confidential business information; Certain inter-agency, or intra-agency communications; Personnel, medical, and other files involving personal privacy; Certain records compiled for law enforcement purposes; Matters relating tot he supervision of financial institutions; and Geological information on oil wells.

How long will it take to answer my request?

Federal agencies are required to answer your request for information within 20-working days of receipt of your request at the office responsible for the records (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays). For FOIA request received by e-mail, the "receipt" date is considered the date the e-mail message is opened by the Bureau responsible for the information. Sometimes an agency may need more than 20-working days to find the records, examine them, possibly consult with other persons or agencies, and decide whether it will disclose the records requested. If so, the agency is required to inform you before the deadline. Agencies have the right to extend this period up to 10 more working days.

Additional FOIA information

Where can I find information about wildfire?

Please visit our interagency Idaho Fire Information website for information about wildland fires, fire restrictions, prevention and education across the state.

Back to top