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State Trust Lands produce $45.9 million for schools

HELENA, Mont. – Montana’s 5.1 million acres of state Trust Lands produced $45,980,220 million in distributable revenues for K-12 public schools in 2019, according to the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC). 

DNRC officials announced the year-end figures at today’s meeting of the State Land Board, presenting Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen with a ceremonial check.

“Trust lands are not only critical to protecting our lands for hunting and fishing, they also provide a dependable source of funding for our K-12 schools,” said Governor Steve Bullock, chair of the State Land Board. “I’m pleased to see that as we continue to diversify and improve these lands, so too are we benefitting our kids and grandkids.”

“Increased Trust Lands revenues this year means additional opportunities for Montana students,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen. “As Land Board Commissioners, we have a responsibility to manage our state Trust Lands in ways that produce strong funding for our schools and create greater opportunities for Montanans to access their public lands. I am proud of the work of the Montana Board of Land Commissioners and our public and private partners.”

Montana’s state Trust Lands are managed by DNRC with oversight from the State Land Board, which is made up of Montana’s five statewide elected officials. Trust Lands management activities fall into four major categories: Agriculture and Grazing, Minerals, Forest Management, and Real Estate.

“I would like to thank our staff at Montana DNRC for their efforts on behalf of our state lands,” said DNRC Director John Tubbs. “It’s a point of pride for our employees that their work helps fund Montana schools, and they do an outstanding job.”  

State Trust Lands also provide important recreational use opportunities for the public. Sportsmen and women with a current Conservation License can hunt and fish on Trust Lands, and recreationists can also purchase a general or recreational use license for other types of outdoor recreation pursuits. Like all other Trust Lands activities, license fees support public education.

In addition to Common Schools (K-12 Education), Montana Trust Lands also benefit the Montana University System, the School for the Deaf and Blind, the Montana Veterans Home, and public buildings.

See a detailed breakdown of 2019 State Trust Lands revenues at