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BLM > Arizona > What We Do > Lands & Realty > Lands FAQ
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Lands FAQ

Q.  Can I film on BLM land?

A permit will be necessary.  Details and forms are available on this page: 

Q. Where and how can I homestead?

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   The Homestead Act was repealed by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976.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

Q. Where can I get maps?

Maps depicting surface and mineral ownership are normally available at any Bureau of Land Management (BLM) field office.   Land status maps range in price from free to $7.50 each.   Topographic (quad) maps are available at local map stores and outdoor recreation outlets.

Q. How do I get a right-of-way grant?

A pre-application meeting with a BLM realty specialist is recommended to initiate a right-of-way application.   A Standard Form SF 299 application must be completely filled out and signed.   The application must include a map and may require a plan of development.     Processing fees are designed to reimburse costs incurred by the BLM in preparing reports or statements required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.   Post-permit fees reimburse the BLM for costs incurred in monitoring the construction, operation, maintenance and termination of authorized rights-of-way, including the protection and rehabilitation of the public lands.   Contact your local BLM office for the free brochure "Obtaining a Right-of-Way on Public Lands" for details.   More information about rights-of-way can be found on the BLM National Home Page

Q. How do I find out who owns a parcel of land?

Consult your local county courthouse records to determine who owns a specific parcel.

Q. How do I know if I am on public land administered by the BLM?

Visit your local BLM Office and consult the files and microfiche to discover whether a particular parcel is private or public land.   The master title plats (MTPs) are a handy guide to the basic ownership history of current and past BLM-managed lands.

Q. How do I file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request?

Information about FOIA and how to file a FOIA request can be found on in our Electronic Reading Room.

Q. What is the Recreation and Public Purpose Act?

The Recreation and Public Purpose Act authorizes the sale or lease of public lands for recreational or public purposes to state and local governments and to qualified non-profit organizations.   Examples of typical uses under the Act are historic monument sites, campgrounds, schools, fire houses, law enforcement facilities, municipal facilities, hospitals, parks, and fairgrounds.   Contact your local BLM office for more information.

Q. Can I exchange private land for public land?

Yes, the BLM will consider the exchanging of private land for public land. The BLM will exchange public lands for private lands that have high resource values or improve the management of public lands.   There are private lands, for example, that are in wilderness or have riparian, scenic, cultural, or wildlife values.  The BLM prefers land in large blocks so that the area can be managed effectively.   Contact the local BLM field office to discuss an exchange proposal.

Q. What is the Desert Land Entry Act?

On March 3, 1877, the Desert Land Entry Act was passed by Congress to encourage and promote the economic development of the arid and semiarid public lands of the Western United States. Through the Act, individuals may apply for a desert land entry to reclaim, irrigate, and cultivate arid and semiarid public lands.  Additional information on the Desert Land Entry Act can be found on the BLM National Home Page.

Q. What is a Cadastral Survey?

Cadastral Survey is the rectangular system that is used mostly in the western states to survey the public lands. The system is comprised of Townships (running north and south) and Ranges (running east and west) emanating from a point of latitude and longitude.   Each Township and Range is six miles square and divided into 36 Sections (a square mile).   However, due to the curvature of the earth and other boundary restrictions, not all sections are a square mile in size.   In such cases, the section may be divided into Lots.   This system provides that a legal description of a parcel is unique.  Nowhere else will a parcel of land be found with the same legal description.  For more information on the Cadastral Survey System check out the Cadastral Home Page.

Q. Are there public lands for sale?

Yes.   Through its planning process, the BLM has identified parcels of public land for disposal.  Usually the land is sold for no less than appraised fair market value and could be more if the lands go through a bidding process.  Further information can be found on the BLM National Home Page

Q. Does the BLM ever buy private land?

The BLM purchases land for easements to provide legal access to public land, and to enhance management of special management areas.   Detailed information on land acquisitions can be found on the BLM National Home Page.

Q. What is meant by a withdrawal?

Public lands are withdrawn from certain land and mineral laws because they have been designated for a specific public purpose.   For example, wetlands might be withdrawn from the mineral laws so no one would locate a mining claim in the wetland area.

Q. Can you donate private land to the BLM?

BLM will accept donation of private land.   The land must be identified in the land use plan as a parcel the BLM would like to acquire.   The land must have a clear title and lack any hazardous materials.   Areas where past mining is in evidence may have the potential for hazardous materials.

Lands & Realty