BLM seeks comment on a proposed plan amendment and land sale in central Mississippi



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FALLS CHURCH, Va. – The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment on its proposal to sell 12.3 acres of BLM land in Simpson County, Mississippi, to resolve a decades-long inadvertent unauthorized use of public land. An environmental analysis is being prepared to evaluate an amendment to BLM’s 2009 Mississippi Resource Management Plan that would consider making the land available for sale.

The parcel was inadvertently omitted during the original Federal surveys performed in the early 1800s. As a result of updated land survey information from redistricting efforts, Simpson County and the BLM have determined that the land belonged to the United States Government.     

The proposal would allow the BLM to evaluate the direct sale of the parcel to Mr. Dempsey Sullivan at fair market value. Mr. Sullivan acquired the adjacent property to the north and east of the BLM land in 1972 and believed that the public land was part of his acquired property. Under this premise, Mr. Sullivan has included the land in his farming and cattle operation and made improvements to the parcel.   

“A direct sale is a fair and equitable resolution of this inadvertent, unauthorized use of public land,” said Robert Swithers, BLM Southeastern States District Office Manager. “Moving forward with this proposal will ensure the best outcome for the Sullivan family, the BLM, and the American public as a whole.”

The BLM may transfer lands from Federal ownership that are small and logistically and economically difficult to manage. In this case, the isolated tract of public land is surrounded by privately-owned farms in a rural area of Mississippi, and there are no other Federal lands in Simpson County. Selling the parcel would not impact public access for recreation in the area.

The BLM is seeking public input on the scope of the analysis, potential alternatives, and identification of relevant information and studies related to this issue. The BLM will accept comments received on or before August 17, 2023. Comments must be submitted through either the BLM ePlanning website at or by mail to ATTN: Mississippi Tract 37, BLM Southeastern States District Office, 273 Market Street, Flowood, MS 39232. Project information is available on the ePlanning website.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.