The United States granted 11% of the land in the state of Utah to be used as a trust for schools. The School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration manages these lands and the trust for Utah’s schools. Money is generated from the sale or leasing of these blocks of land.
When the lands were given to the state they were spread out in a checkerboard pattern. This random pattern placed some lands in areas where income generating potential isn’t possible. The School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration or SITLA has been working to trade those lands for more productive federal lands, blocking up areas that are better suited for development.
Many of the SITLA sections are located in proposed wilderness areas in San Juan County, which has prompted a land swap between SITLA and the BLM. Blocking up the land for mineral development creates a potential for economic development in the county. The only questions is what is given up when these lands are traded?