About 93% of land in MO is privately held (Van Dien 2022). 3.8% is owned by the federal government (Table 1), and 3.2% is owned by state, county, or municipal governments (Vincent 2020). Comprehensive descriptions of the types of land (e.g., size, features, use) that state, counties, and municipalities own are not publicly available.
Most of the about 15.5 million acres of forest land in MO is privately owned (82%) compared to federal (12%), state (5%) and county/ municipality (0.5%) owned (Oswalt 2019).
In 1976, the U.S. passed legislation creating Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT)—federal payments sent to local governments to help offset lost property taxes.
Payments are determined by population and federal land within a county, and may be used for any local governmental purpose. Maximum payments are determined by county population and adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index.
The MO Conservation Commission within the Dept. of Conservation provides payments to political subdivisions (e.g., towns, counties, cities) in lieu of real property taxes for private land that is acquired by the commission and acquired after July 1, 1977 (MO Const. Art. IV Sec. 43(b)).
The effects of publicly held land on local economies are difficult to measure because of:
1. Variations in land use requirements. There are several types of federal land with different purposes and regulatory requirements (Morales 2020).
2. Contributions from other economic drivers. Changes in public land ownership can affect population growth, per capita income, and job growth. Population growth is associated with both higher costs of living and increases in new businesses and job growth (Morales 2020; Rudzitis 2000).
The federal Secure Rural Schools Program distributes funds that the FS generates through multi-use activities such as grazing, timber production, and special use permits, to eligible counties to help with local road maintenance and schools. These payments have been authorized through 2023.
In 2021, 2.8 million people visited national parks in MO, spending about $211 million in the local region (NPS 2022).
In 2022, 19.8 million people visited MO state parks (MDNR n.d.).
Eichman, H., Hunt, G. L., Kerkvliet, J., & Plantinga, A. J. (2010). Local Employment Growth, Migration, and Public Land Policy: Evidence from the Northwest Forest Plan. Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 35(2), 316–333. Retrieved April 10, 2023, from https://www.jstor.org/stable/41960520.
Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). (n.d.). Facts and Figures. Missouri State Parks. Retrieved April 10, 2023, from https://mostateparks.com/page/55072/facts-and-figures
Morales, J., & Jenkins, M. (2020). (rep.). How Do Federal Lands Impact Local Economies? The Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University. Retrieved April 10, 2023, from https://www.thecgo.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/How-Do-Federal-Lands-Impact-Local-Economies.pdf.
Oswalt, S. N., Smith, W. B., Miles, P. D., & Pugh, S. A. (2019). (rep.). Forest Resources of the United States, 2017. U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved April 10, 2023, from https://www.fs.usda.gov/research/publications/gtr/gtr_wo97.pdf.
Rudzitis, G., & Johnson, R. (2000). (rep.). The impact of wilderness and other wildlands on local economies and regional development trends. Retrieved April 11, 2023, from https://www.fs.usda.gov/rm/pubs/rmrs_p015_2/rmrs_p015_2_014_026.pdf.
U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI 1). (n.d.). Payments in Lieu of Taxes. U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved April 10, 2023, from https://www.doi.gov/pilt
U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI 2), Payments and Acreage By State / County (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2023, from https://pilt.doi.gov/counties.cfm?term=county&state_code=MO&fiscal_yr=2022&Search.x=32&Search.y=18.
U.S. Forest Service (FS 1). (n.d.). Welcome to Mark Twain National Forest. Forest Service - Caring for the Land and Serving People. Retrieved April 10, 2023, from https://www.fs.usda.gov/mtnf
U.S. Forest Service (FS 2). (n.d.). Secure rural schools - payments. Forest Service. Retrieved April 10, 2023, from https://www.fs.usda.gov/working-with-us/secure-rural-schools/payments
U.S. Forest Service (FS 3). (n.d.). Secure rural schools - payments. Forest Service. Retrieved April 11, 2023, from https://www.fs.usda.gov/working-with-us/secure-rural-schools/payments
U.S. National Parks Service (NPS). (2022, July 12). Visitor Spending Effects - Economic Contributions of National Park Visitor Spending. National Parks Service. Retrieved April 10, 2023, from https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm
Van Dien, D. (2022, December). Missouri Outdoor Recreational Access Program. Missouri Conservationist. Retrieved April 10, 2023, from https://mdc.mo.gov/sites/default/files/2022-11/MOCON_Dec22_508_0.pdf.
Vincent, C. H., & Hanson, L. A. (2020). (rep.). Federal Land Ownership: Overview and Data. Congressional Research Service (CRS). Retrieved April 10, 2023, from https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R42346.
Wilderness Connect - University of Montana (WC). (n.d.). Key Laws. Wilderness Connect. Retrieved April 10, 2023, from https://wilderness.net/learn-about-wilderness/key-laws/default.php