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Frequently Asked Questions


What are trust lands? Trust lands are parcels of land granted by Congress to Utah at the time of statehood. Trust lands were allocated specifically to generate revenue to support designated state institutions, including public schools, hospitals, teaching colleges, and universities. Learn more about trust lands.

Where does money from trust lands go? Revenue generated from energy, mineral, real estate, and surface development on trust lands is deposited into beneficiary permanent endowments, which total $2.5 billion. Each beneficiary receives annual distributions from their individual endowment.

Are trust lands public lands? No, trust lands are held in trust for specific institutions designated by Congress and are not held in public domain. Trust lands were allocated specifically to generate revenue to support designated state institutions, including public schools, hospitals, teaching colleges, and universities. While approximately 67% of Utah is public land, trust lands comprise only 6% of the state’s acreage.

How many acres of trust lands are in Utah? SITLA manages 3.4 million surface and subsurface acres, and an additional 1.1 million acres of mineral estate for its beneficiaries.

What are the legal description standards for a new application? The SITLA GIS professionals asked all consultants, engineers, contractors and/or land surveyors to submit legal descriptions in a digital format.  The digital data are required to adhere to the GIS Data Deliverable Standard Policy.


Oil and Gas

How do I nominate lands for the competitive sale?  Nominations are now being accepted online for the quarterly Competitive Offering. CLICK HERE to access the nomination form. Any expression of interest should describe the lands by township-range-section-quarter/quarter and will be reviewed and approved by the Agency before being offered for competitive bidding. You may use the SITLA Digital Plat Map for reference. Questions about nominating lands for oil and gas leasing should be directed to Wes Adams, wesadams@utah.gov, Refer to our Competitive Mineral Lease Offering page for more details.

What do I need to do to get an approved Application for Permit to Drill (APD) on SITLA lands?
1) The original APD must be filed with the Division of Oil, Gas and Mining (DOGM) under its rules. SITLA will review the DOGM APD and approve it prior to final approval by DOGM.
2) Applicant must file an archaeology report on the drillsite and any additional reports required by SITLA, including, but not limited to paleontology, wildlife, or mitigation plans.
3) DOGM will conduct a pre-site meeting to include DOGM, SITLA and any other interested parties.

How many copies do I need to submit when assigning interest in a lease?  SITLA requires one original executed assignment form that will be scanned for SITLA records and returned to assignee upon approval. Refer to the fee schedule for filing fees required.  For other assignment questions contact Dorothy Taylor dataylor@utah.gov.


Property Planning and Development

How does trust land become categorized as development land? The Development Group oversees approximately 1% of the lands managed by the Trust. When the Development Group identifies a land parcel with development potential, the director designates it as development land after reaching consensus among all agency managers.

How do I purchase, develop, lease or secure an easement on trust lands? Contact SITLA with your transaction proposal. Please be prepared to identify the location of the land, including township, range, section, or specific street address. The Development Group periodically distributes Requests for Development Proposals for specific parcels.

What does the Development Group do? The Development Group applies real estate development, land planning, land conservation, legal, and finance disciplines in its management of trust land properties designated for development. We create value by working with the private sector, governmental agencies, and other interested parties on the tracts of land we manage. We capture this value by taking these lands into well structured, creative transactions with the private sector, always with an eye toward quality planning, preserving open space, and meeting larger community needs.

How may planners, engineers, attorneys, etc. work with SITLA? All SITLA procurement bids are solicited using SciQuest. Registration on SciQuest is free and allows you to request e-mail notifications of newly-released solicitations in your field. For information about using SciQuest visit the Utah Division of Purchasing and General Services.

For services that are anticipated to cost less than $50,000, SITLA maintains a list of pre-qualified professionals from whom the agency may procure services, without going through the competitive process. Service providers interested in becoming pre-qualified vendors should submit a Statement of Qualifications (SOQ). SOQs are solicited annually via Bidsync, but are accepted at any time by emailing alexawilson@utah.gov.