Special Report

How Much Land the Government Owns in Every State and What It's Used For

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50. Connecticut
> Land owned by federal gov’t: 0.3%
> Federal land in state: 9,110 acres (2nd least)
> Agency owning most land: National Park Service (5,846 acres)
> Federal employment as pct. of workforce: 1.1% (2nd lowest)

The federal government owns just over 9,000 acres in the small New England state of Connecticut — equal to only 0.3% of all land in the state. The National Park Service controls 5,846 acres of land, more than any other federal agency. Land that falls under the NPS’s purview in the state includes parts of the Appalachian Trail and the New England Scenic Trail. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, with stations located in Westbrook and Tolland, Connecticut, is the second largest federal landholder in the state, with a footprint of 1,754 acres.

Source: dvids / Flickr

49. Iowa
> Land owned by federal gov’t: 0.3%
> Federal land in state: 97,509 acres (5th least)
> Agency owning most land: Fish and Wildlife Service (73,427 acres)
> Federal employment as pct. of workforce: 1.1% (4th lowest)

Through various departments and agencies, the federal government controls 0.3% of land in Iowa, or about 97,500 acres. A sizable portion of that land is under the purview of the Department of Defense, which owns and operates Camp Dodge, an army national guard camp in Johnston, and the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant outside of Des Moines.

The largest share of federal land in Iowa, however, is controlled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service. The federal department controls wildlife refuges all over the state and has offices in Missouri Valley, Prairie City, Wapello, Titonka, and Indianola.

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48. Kansas
> Land owned by federal gov’t: 0.5%
> Federal land in state: 253,919 acres (9th least)
> Agency owning most land: Department of Defense (115,326 acres)
> Federal employment as pct. of workforce: 1.8% (24th highest)

The Department of Defense is the largest federal landholder in Kansas. Through various bases, including Fort Riley, an Army base near Manhattan, Kansas, and the Smoky Hill Air National Guard Range, in central Kansas, the DoD owns over 115,000 acres in the state. The National Forest Service, the second largest federal landholder in the state, partially manages the Cimarron National Grassland, which comprises Kansas’s southwestern corner.

47. Rhode Island
> Land owned by federal gov’t: 0.7%
> Federal land in state: 4,513 acres (the least)
> Agency owning most land: Fish and Wildlife Service (2,415 acres)
> Federal employment as pct. of workforce: 2.2% (16th highest)

The federal government owns less than 5,000 acres in Rhode Island, the smallest footprint of any state. Still, Rhode Island is also the smallest state in the country, and the federal land accounts for 0.7% of all land in the state, the fourth smallest share among states.

The Department of Defense operates several naval stations in the state, the largest of which is located in Newport. The Department of Fish and Wildlife, which manages a number of wildlife refuges, including Block Island, John H. Chafee, Ninigret, Sachuest Point, and Trustom Pond, is the largest federal landholder in the state.

Source: Mike Strasser / Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs

46. New York
> Land owned by federal gov’t: 0.8%
> Federal land in state: 230,992 acres (8th least)
> Agency owning most land: Department of Defense (151,233 acres)
> Federal employment as pct. of workforce: 1.2% (7th lowest)

New York is one of three states in the Northeast to rank among the five in which the federal government controls the smallest share of land. Federal departments and agencies own a combined 230,992 acres in New York, or just 0.8% of the state’s total land area.

Largely because of Fort Drum, an Army base near Watertown that is home to the 10th Mountain Division, the Department of Defense has far and away the largest geographic footprint in New York, controlling over 151,000 acres.