These include state, county and city parks and forest areas managed for public recreation, areas managed by fish & game agencies for wildlife habitat and state endowment lands managed by Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) for the financial benefit of Idaho’s public schools and institutions.
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When Idaho was admitted to the Union as the 43rd state in 1890, it was granted or “endowed” approximately 3.6 million acres of land to support public institutions. Today, more than 2.4 million acres remain in State of Idaho ownership as “state endowment trust lands,” including close to 1 million acres of timberlands.
Unlike federally owned “public lands,” state endowment trust lands are actively managed under a constitutional mandate to maximize long-term financial support to Idaho’s public school system, public universities, State hospitals, Veterans homes and other important public institutions.
Revenue generated from the sale of timber and leases for grazing, mining, and many other uses is invested to earn income. The Endowment Fund Investment Board manages the funds, and every year tens of millions of dollars of investment income are distributed directly to school districts, charter schools and other state institutions. A current list of endowment distributions to all beneficiaries is available here.
Management decisions for endowment lands and forests are made by the State Board of Land Commissioners comprised of Idaho’s top five elected officials, including the governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state controller, and superintendent of public instruction. The Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) is responsible for management activities and the ongoing care of endowment lands.
Learn more about Idaho Department of Lands here.
FOREST FACT: Idaho’s public school system is the largest beneficiary of the money generated from state endowment lands and funds.
FOREST FACT: Unlike federally owned forests, Idaho endowment forests are required by law to be actively managed to generate funds for public schools and other State of Idaho institutions.
Want to contact a local Idaho Department of Lands office?