Arizona has more than 9 million surface acres of State Trust lands, interspersed throughout the state with federal and private lands. It represents approximately 13% of Arizona's total surface land ownership. Congress authorized conveyance of federal land grants to territories in the west at statehood to provide foundational support for basic public services, such as education and penitentiaries. Congress mandated that those lands be held in perpetual trust, and that standards for management and disposition of those lands would be codified within the states' constitution.
In both rural and urban contexts, State Trust lands also provide substantial benefit to local communities through economic stimulation, such as supporting and planning infrastructure and development corridors.
The Territory of Arizona was established on February 24, 1863, by an Act of Congress; it granted sections 16 and 36 of each township for the benefit of "Common Schools." Congress recognized the value of the land and the importance of public education to developing states and the nation.
The Arizona-New Mexico Enabling Act of 1910 (Act), passed on June 20, 1910, authorized the Territory of Arizona to become a state, and enter the Union on equal footing with the original states; the congressional land grant provided support for foundational public services. In addition to the previously designated sections of land, the Act assigned sections 2 and 32 of each township to be held in trust for Common Schools (K-12 Education). Congress considered the need for other foundational public services, and through the Enabling Act, more than two million additional acres were allocated for their use.
After all congressional actions were complete, the total acreage granted was approximately 10,900,000 acres. Today, State Trust Land is a dedicated revenue source for 13 Trust Beneficiaries.
State Trust Land is different from public land, such as U.S. Bureau of Land Management land, national parks or forests, in that all uses of Trust land and its resources, must compensate the 13 Trust Beneficiaries. Congress, in granting the land to the State in preparation for statehood, recognized its value and the importance of providing support to public schools and other public institutions.
The Arizona State Treasurer manages the fiscal corpus of permanent revenue produced by State Trust land, known as the Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund (PLETF).
To responsibly manage the assets of a multi-generational perpetual Trust in alignment with the interests of the Beneficiaries and Arizona's future.