85 percent of Nevada is owned by the Bureau of Land Management. What does this mean to the average Nevada resident? It takes a full day to drive from Southern Nevada to Northern Nevada and all there is to see is wide open desert. All that land is controlled by the Federal Government and is not for private ownership. Well… not exactly.
For example look at Southern Nevada, specifically the Las Vegas Valley. This part of Nevada is home to numerous large master planned communities. Communities like Southern Highlands and Sun City Anthem are home to thousands of residents along with commercial property to support the neighborhoods. Where did the developers get the land for these large communities? The land came from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) through public auctions or land swaps for environmentally sensitive private land.
In 1998 the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA) became law. This law established a legal boundary around the valley that designated land the Bureau of Land Management could sell. Land outside the boundary is off limits to the public for purchase. The money generated from BLM land sales within the SNPLMA boundary is divided between the Southern Nevada Water Authority (10%), the National Educational Fund (5%) and the remainder going to an account available to the Secretary of the Interior. The Secretary of the interior uses the funds for:
1. Capital Improvements
2. Trails, Parks and Natural Areas
3. Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP)
4. Conservation Initiatives
5. Wildfire Prevention and Hazardous Fuels Reduction
6. Environmentally Sensitive Land Acquisitions
7. Lake Tahoe Restorations Projects
8. Eastern Nevada Landscape Restoration Project
Other stipulations in the SNPLMA direct certain acquisition and land sale procedures, provide for the sale of land for affordable housing and direct the BLM to convey title of land in the McCarran Airport noise zone to Clark County, Nevada.
How long will the land last within the boundary of the SNPLMA? Now that Nevada’s economy is finally recovering, available land soon may not be obtainable. Only the United States Congress can answer this question.