Sales & Exchanges

With passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) in 1976, Congress directed the BLM to retain most remaining public lands, significantly reducing the acreage available for sale or exchange. FLPMA repealed the Homestead Act, except in Alaska, where it was separately repealed in 1986. 

Sales of selected parcels may occur where and when they are determined to be in the public interest and consistent with approved land use plans that have been developed with public involvement and environmental analysis. Such parcels must meet one of three criteria: 

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

    FAQ | Federal Land Sales

The BLM may also exchange lands with other owners to improve management, consolidate ownership, or better meet management objectives and priorities. 

Statutory and regulatory requirements ensure the public interest is protected when a sale or exchange is proposed. Environmental site assessments are required to determine whether property proposed for transfer to third parties has contamination present.