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Federal Land by State

Federal Land by State


The United States is graced with an abundance of natural beauty, much of which is preserved under the jurisdiction of federal lands. These territories, managed by the federal government, extend from the exquisite, rugged terrains of Alaska to the sunny, sultry landscapes of Florida. Federally owned territories are lands that have been passed into the domain of the federal government, which then takes responsibility for their stewardship.

Certain states are distinguished by disproportionately high shares of federal land compared to others. Nevada, for example, leads this list, with almost 85% of its land federally owned, a stark difference from Iowa or New York which have barely 0.34% of their territories under federal management.

  • The top five states with the highest percentage of federal land are all located in the western part of the country - Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Alaska, and Oregon.
  • Despite being the largest state in the country, Texas has one of the smallest percentages of federal land, at just 1.78% - lower than much smaller states like New Hampshire and Florida.
  • The majority of states with less than 1% of federal land are in the Midwest or the East, such as Iowa, New York, Kansas, and Ohio.
  • There is a significant drop in the percentage of federal land after the top five states. While Oregon, the 5th state on the list, has more than 52% federal land, the 6th state, Wyoming, has below 50% - an approximate decrease of 5%.
  • Hawaii, despite being a relatively small state geographically, has the 13th highest percentage of federal land ownership largely due to its unique geological features and history.

States with the Most Public Land

Beginning with the state claiming the top spot, we have Nevada, where an impressive 84.94% of the land is federally owned. Such a high percentage makes it the U.S. state with the largest portion of public land. Known for its vast deserts and mountain ranges, much of this federal land in Nevada is set aside as protected wilderness.

Following Nevada in second place is Utah, with 64.90% of its territory being federally owned. Famous for its diverse landscapes of arid deserts with sand dunes, pine forests, and snow-capped mountains, Utah's public lands are vast and varied. 

Idaho, landing in third place, is 61.63% federally owned land. Idaho's wide range of federal land includes everything from national forests, where visitors can explore the great outdoors, to historically significant locations.

In fourth place, we have Alaska, with the federal government owning 61.24% of its land. A vast wilderness, Alaska boasts national parks the size of nations, reserves teeming with wildlife, and other federally managed lands that are all part of the state's staggering largesse.

Oregon, known for its diverse landscapes, claims fifth place with 52.95% of its land under federal control. Apart from the striking Pacific coastline, other federally managed sites include forests, wilderness areas, national monuments, and more.

Continuing on the list, we have Wyoming with 48.14%, California with 45.77%, Arizona with 38.61%, and Colorado with 35.90% of their lands being federally owned. New Mexico closes the top ten with 34.70% of its territory managed by the federal government.

States with the most federal land (by percentage):

  1. Nevada - 84.94%
  2. Utah - 64.90%
  3. Idaho - 61.63%
  4. Alaska - 61.24%
  5. Oregon - 52.95%
  6. Wyoming - 48.14%
  7. California - 45.77%
  8. Arizona - 38.61%
  9. Colorado - 35.90%
  10. New Mexico - 34.70%

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