The Alabama State Lands Division performs a broad range of property management activities relating to State-owned land. Most lands managed by the Division are trust lands managed for specific purposes.
The headquarters office for State Lands is located in Montgomery; 334-242-3484. State Lands Contacts
Management of State-Owned Trust Lands
The State Lands Division is charged with the management of State-owned Trust Lands and other State-owned real property. This involves administering various leases and land management practices to generate revenue for the respective trusts.
Natural Heritage Program
The Alabama Natural Heritage Section is a program of the State Lands Division specifically charged with maintaining a current and historic understanding of the natural wonders of Alabama. It also provides support to Alabama’s Forever Wild Program.
The goal of the Natural Heritage Section is to function as a central depository for historic and current biological distribution records of species that occur within Alabama. The depository enhances conservation by supporting planning and operations of academic research, federal and state agencies, as well as developmental planning interests. The Natural Heritage Section makes applications for federal assistance grants directed at leveraging Forever Wild funds in the purchase of unique parcels of land.
The Natural Heritage Section collects and catalogs biological data for the Natural Heritage database. The database currently contains approximately 1.8 million individual records. A Geographic Information System (GIS) is regularly used to present biological information in a useful format.
Land Resources Information Center
The State Lands Division maintains the Lands Resources Information Center, which is a database of current ownership of State property. This database contains lands managed by the State Lands Division and serves as a record of property owned by every State institution and agency. It is a requirement for the various institutions and agencies to report the sale or purchase of property for inclusion into the LRIC. This database is updated throughout the year as needed.
State Land Sales and Leasing Program
Through legislative mandate, the State Lands Division handles the sales and leasing of surplus State lands pursuant to a strict competitive bidding provision. Surplus land sales of state agencies is handled by the State Lands Director after having obtained appraisals of property values and publication of notice of pending sales. This program is aimed at assuring that the state receives full fair market value for lands which it sells or leases and that the procedure is open, competitive and subject to public scrutiny.
The State Lands Division manages approximately 45,000 acres of State-owned lands. This includes School Trust Lands, Mental Health Trust Lands and Muscle Shoal Grant Lands. These lands are managed to generate revenue for the respective trust beneficiary. Additionally, resources such as oil and gas exploration, timber harvesting, farming, coal mining, hunting leases and commercial uses are managed on University of Montevallo, Auburn University and the Department of Transportation lands. State Lands Division staff administers the appraisal and bidding processes required by State Law as well as protecting such lands from theft and damage.
Off-shore and other Submerged Lands
The Lands Division also manages approximately 600,000 acres of submerged lands that includes statewide navigable water bottoms, coastal bays and offshore State waters for a distance of three miles. The State owns oil and gas interests on small upland tracts, submerged river bottoms and in the area of offshore Alabama. Most significant are natural gas reserves lying within the three-mile offshore area of Alabama. Revenues from offshore natural gas production accounts for a substantial portion of the funds generated by the Division. Offshore natural gas royalties are deposited into the Alabama Trust Fund.
The State Lands Division sells certain damaged, diseased or right-of-way timber, which does not exceed $500 in value, on a negotiated basis. This current value threshold serves as an impediment to proper land management where timber is damaged by storms or insect infestation.
Since it was established by constitutional amendment in 1992, the Forever Wild Land Trust has purchased more than 240,000 acres of land for public use. The State Lands Division administers the Forever Wild Land Trust.