Natural Resources FAQs
Here a few of the most frequently asked questions about the Arizona State Land Department. If you have other questions or comments, contact us.
|Why do I need a permit to go on State Trust land for recreation purposes?|
|How do I obtain a recreational permit?|
|What is Open Range?|
|How do I report illegal activities on State Trust land?|
Arizona State Trust lands are not "public lands", as are Federal lands under the management of the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management. Federal "public lands" are managed for the benefit and use of the public, while State Trust lands are managed for the benefit of 14 Trust beneficiaries, which include the public schools and prisons. The Land Department's trust management responsibilities include requiring a permit or lease and charging a fee for use of Trust land. Exceptions to this requirement are licensed hunters and fishers, actively pursuing game or fish, in-season, and certain archaeological activities permitted by the Arizona State Museum.
A ‘Recreational Use Permit’ is temporary and revocable and does not permit commercial, competitive or group events. Lands leased for agriculture, mining, commercial, or military purposes are not open to recreational use. Other State Trust Lands may be closed to some or all recreational uses due to hazardous conditions, dust abatement, in coordination with the Arizona Game & Fish Department or based on certain State, County or Local laws or ordinances.
Recreational Permit allows the signatory limited privileges to use State Trust Land for some recreation. Recreation under this permit is limited to hiking, horseback riding, picnics, bicycling, photography, sightseeing, and bird watching. Camping is restricted to no more than 14 days per year. Off-Highway Vehicular travel on State Trust Land is not permitted without proper licensing.
The holder of an Arizona State Land Department (ASLD) Recreation Permit (Permittee) shall respect the land, the rights and improvements of other authorized users, and exercise appropriate discretion to protect native plants, cultural and historic sites and the environment. Permittee shall stay on existing and designated roads and trails. Permittee shall comply with all Federal, State, County, and Municipal laws and ordinances, while on State Trust Land.
The Permittee shall not use State Trust Land that is closed by the State Land Commissioner. The Permittee shall not: disrupt plant and wildlife on, blaze trails across, visit historic and prehistoric archeological sites on, or remove natural products from State Trust Land. The Permittee shall not cause any refuse or allow any other foreign objects to be deposited on State Trust Land. The Permittee shall not discharge a firearm on State Trust Land, except pursuant to lawful and licensed hunting.
This question is frequently asked by motorists involved in automobile accidents with livestock on a roadway, or by owners of private land in rural subdivisions whose ornamental plants are eaten by livestock from adjoining State Trust grazing land.
The answer is not easily found. The Arizona Department of Agriculture's Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 3, Article 8 (No-Fence Districts), contains nine separate statutes that comprise the open range laws of the State. A motorist who has been involved in an accident and wants to know if a particular location is "open range" should contact the County Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors is the entity that has the authority to designate No-Fence Districts. If an area is not within a No-Fence District, it is open range. The Board of Supervisors keeps the records for such designations. (ARS 3-1421-1422)
The landowner who is concerned with livestock damaging plants and other private property, has an obligation to fence his/her private land with a lawful fence to keep animals out. Having a lawful fence is necessary in any action to recover damages due to trespassing animals. (ARS 3-1427)
Arizona State Trust lands are not public lands, but may be found throughout the State interspersed with public, private, tribal lands and others. Any activity on Trust land requires permission, generally in the form of a permit or lease, and to be on Trust land without a permit is a violation of various laws and statutes. Any activity not expressly approved is therefore illegal.
If a person knows or suspects that an illegal activity is occurring on State Trust land, they should call their local law enforcement agency (city or county) and report the incident. City, County and State law enforcement agencies have authority and responsibility to enforce laws on State Trust land.
The Land Department does not have a law enforcement branch and relies on local authorities to enforce the law. If the local law enforcement agency can not or will not assist, please call the Land Department's Environmental Section at 602.542.2119 and report the incident.
If an illegal activity has already occurred, the Land Department has non-law enforcement field investigators who can respond to the report, investigate the activity and possibly take action to remedy or clean up the problem.