U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
The St. George Field Office is collocated with BLM’s Arizona Strip District in the Public Lands Information Center located at 345 East Riverside Drive in St. George, Utah. The office is shared with some representatives of the Dixie National Forest whose main office is located in downtown St. George at 196 East Tabernacle Street. The Dixie Arizona Strip Interpretive Association is also headquartered out of the Public Lands Information Center and provides staffing and volunteers to respond to visitor inquiries, conduct environmental education and community outreach, and manage the sales of maps, brochures, books, and memorabilia pertinent to the area’s history and natural resources. General information, maps, and over-the-counter permits for various mineral materials and vegetative products are available here for the Dixie National Forest and public lands in northwest Arizona and southwest Utah.
The St. George Field Office consists of a small staff of resource and administrative specialists including a Field Office Manager. Resource programs managed by the field office include range conservation, livestock grazing, wildlife habitat management, threatened and endangered species, fisheries management, riparian area management, water quality, outdoor recreation, cultural and historical resource management, wilderness management, land use planning, environmental coordination, and mineral material sales including sand, gravel, cinders, and building/landscape rock; also, woodland/vegetative products sales and realty actions for leases, permits, rights-of-way, land sales and land exchanges. Other programs coordinated out of the office with agency assistance include paleontology, hazardous materials management, land records, cadastral survey, mining under the 1872 Mining Law, mineral leasing under the 1920 Mineral Leasing Act, fire prevention, and fire suppression.
The St. George Field office administers approximately 629,000 acres of public lands within Washington County, Utah located in the far southwest corner of the state. The lands lie astride the transition between three major physiographic provinces including the Colorado Plateau, the Great Basin, and the Mojave Desert. This unique blend of geologic landforms creates a wealth of varying landscapes, open vistas, and spectacular scenery that is recognized in national and international sectors. Majestic Zion National Park and the beautiful Pine Valley Mountains of the Dixie National Forest define the eastern and northern boundaries of the county. To the west lie the desert valleys and mountains of Nevada, while the broad, undeveloped expanses and rugged topography of the Arizona Strip lie immediately to the south.
The Virgin River and its many tributaries flow through portions of the county and provide the lifeblood for the desert and mountain ecosystems and human populations that reside therein. Countless numbers of wildlife and vegetation species, many at the extreme end of their natural ranges, contribute to a rich biological diversity that is otherwise uncommon in parts of the arid, intermountain west. Elevations range from a low of 2,200 feet at the Arizona border to nearly 10,400 feet in the Pine Valley Mountains. Average yearly precipitation ranges from a low of 7.5 inches in the desert to 35 inches in the highest elevations.
In prehistoric times, lands within Washington County were occupied by peoples of various Archaic, Anasazi, and Southern Paiute cultures. Evidence of these cultures is found in extensive archeological remains throughout a major portion of the county. European settlement first occurred in the 1850s under the direction of Brigham Young. Early Mormon settlers in Utah’s “Dixie” were instructed to establish agricultural developments suited to the warm climate in order to produce staples such as cotton, sugar, tobacco, grapes, figs, almonds, olive oil, and other useful articles.
As of 2012, 145,000 people made Washington County their home, while millions of others are drawn to it annually for recreation, business, or cultural activities. A combination of favorable climate, open space, scenic quality, and opportunities for expansive outdoor recreation have led to a significant in-migration of retirees and other families moving primarily from metropolitan areas outside of the county. Population growth has far outpaced that of Utah and the United States as a whole, although the county's growth has slowed recently compared to previous decades. The population growth poses some challenges as urbanization creates conflicts with numerous natural resources and as landlocked communities push for expansion and as new residents place increased demands on the public lands for products and services including water developments, mineral materials, woodland products, numerous forms of outdoor recreation, and rights-of-way for utilities and transportation.
Although most public lands in Washington County are managed by the St. George Field Office, about 4,800 acres of public lands situated north of the Dixie National Forest near the community of Enterprise are managed by BLM’s Cedar City Field Office. Land ownership in the field office is shown in the following table:
A map of land ownership (Surface Management Status, St. George, Utah) for the Washington County area can be purchased at the St. George Field Office or view a small map here.