Trust lands are parcels of land managed by the Trust Lands Administration for the exclusive benefit of state institutions or beneficiaries, as designated by Congress. Because these lands are held in trust, they differ greatly from public lands, and are more akin to private lands. Only about 6% of the state’s acreage is set aside as trust lands to generate revenue for beneficiaries, primarily public schools. View the Trust Lands surface and mineral estate map.
At the time of statehood, Congress granted parcels of land to Utah from which revenue could be generated to support state institutions, including public schools, hospitals, teaching colleges, and universities.
Trust land parcels were allocated by apportioning the state into townships, each six by six miles, and dividing each township logo with numbers onlyinto 36 square-mile sections. Utah was given sections 2, 16, 32, and 36 in each township for public schools, resulting in a checkerboard of land ownership. All other designated state institutions were granted fixed amounts of acreage selected by the state from the remaining public domain.
Today, Utah’s 3.4 million surface and subsurface acres of trust lands and additional 1.1 million acres of mineral estate are managed on behalf of and for the exclusive benefit of select state institutions. The School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration manages the land portfolio for each beneficiary, generating revenue through oil, gas, and mineral leases, rent, and royalties; real estate development and sales; and surface estate sales, leases, and easements.