Idaho's Endowment Lands: A Matter of Sacred Trust Report uri icon



  • PAG Report 1 | Published March 1990 | A distinction must be made between the management objectives established by law for federal public lands in Idaho and the objectives for Idaho's state lands. State lands were acquired from the federal government under a trust agreement whereby proceeds from the disposal or use of the lands would exclusively benefit certain designated public institutions, primarily public schools. This trust arrangement is clearly defined in law and has stood many legal challenges. However, certain individuals and groups tend to either confuse or ignore the fundamental difference in the management objectives of these two categories of public lands. They contend that Idaho's state lands should be managed for a variety of purposes to benefit a variety of groups and individuals, much as federal land is managed. The review of pertinent law in this report indicates that the notion of managing the grant lands for a wide variety of purposes and public benefits seems to violate both federal and state law. These lands were granted to the state for the purpose of establishing a perpetual endowment for specific beneficiaries, mainly the public schools. As a matter of trust, the state is obligated to sell, lease, exchange, or manage the grant lands, producing full value (now defined as "maximum long term financial return") from them only to benefit the specific institutions designated by law as trust beneficiaries.

publication date

  • March 5, 1990