oversight

Land Ownership: Similarities and Differences in the Management of Selected State and Federal Land Units

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-06-27.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                  United States General Accounting Office

GAO               Report to Congressional Requesters




June 1997
                  LAND OWNERSHIP
                  Similarities and
                  Differences in the
                  Management of
                  Selected State and
                  Federal Land Units




GAO/RCED-97-158
                   United States
GAO                General Accounting Office
                   Washington, D.C. 20548

                   Resources, Community, and
                   Economic Development Division

                   B-276875

                   June 27, 1997

                   The Honorable James V. Hansen
                   Chairman, Subcommittee on National
                     Parks and Public Lands
                   Committee on Resources
                   House of Representatives

                   The Honorable Richard Pombo
                   House of Representatives

                   Both the federal government and the states own millions of acres of land
                   that are managed for various purposes. In March 1996, we reported to the
                   Chairman of the House Committee on Resources and Representative
                   Pombo on a variety of topics dealing with land ownership, including the
                   acreage owned by 13 western states.1 Because you were interested in
                   comparing state and federal land management, you asked us to (1) identify
                   the purposes and uses for which state-owned lands are managed and
                   (2) compare state and federal land management activities, operating costs,
                   and revenues.

                   As agreed with your offices, we obtained data on the management of
                   state-owned lands in New Mexico, North Carolina, and Utah. In addition,
                   within these three states, we judgmentally selected 14 state and national
                   parks, wildlife areas, and forests and compared the activities, operating
                   costs, and revenues of the state units with those of the federal units.
                   Because of differences in the emphasis given to particular activities, the
                   size of the land units reviewed, the number of staff assigned to the units,
                   and other factors—all of which affect the units’ operating costs and
                   revenues—caution must be used in interpreting the data gathered on these
                   units and in making decisions on the basis of these data.


                   The majority of the state-owned lands in New Mexico and Utah are trust
Results in Brief   lands, which are managed to generate revenue and are generally not open
                   to the public. The remaining state-owned lands in New Mexico and Utah
                   and all of the state-owned lands in North Carolina are public lands, which
                   are managed by state departments and agencies for various purposes and
                   uses. Specifically, the trust lands—95 percent (8.9 million acres) of the
                   state-owned lands in New Mexico and 65 percent (3.7 million acres) of the


                   1
                    Land Ownership: Information on the Acreage, Management, and Use of Federal and Other Lands
                   (GAO/RCED-96-40, Mar. 13, 1996).



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    state-owned lands in Utah—are managed to produce revenue for schools
    and other designated institutions from uses such as oil and gas production,
    grazing, and mining. The public lands are managed, among other things, to
    provide recreational opportunities for the public or to preserve the states’
    natural, historic, and scenic resources. From these lands, we selected the
    state units for comparison with federal units.

    Our review of 14 state and federal land units identified similarities and
    differences in their activities, operating costs, and revenues.

•   The three state parks and the three national parks we reviewed conducted
    similar activities, but the state parks placed more emphasis on visitor
    services while the national parks gave a higher priority to conserving
    natural resources (resource stewardship). The state parks also cost less to
    operate and less per visitor, but more per acre to manage. In addition,
    although the state parks usually generated less revenue, they recovered a
    higher percentage of their operating costs. For example, the state park in
    North Carolina generated about $225,000 annually, or 64 percent of its
    operating costs, while the national park generated about $780,000, or
    6 percent of its operating costs. The activities emphasized by the state
    parks, as well as their smaller area and staffs, were among the factors
    contributing to the differences in costs and revenues.
•   The three state wildlife/waterfowl management areas and three national
    wildlife refuges conducted similar activities; however, the state areas gave
    less attention to visitor services than did the three national refuges. The
    state areas generally had lower operating costs as well as lower costs per
    acre. For example, the state waterfowl management area in Utah cost an
    annual average of $119,000 to operate and $6 per acre to manage, while the
    national refuge cost an annual average of slightly over $770,000 to operate
    and almost $9 per acre to manage. The activities emphasized by the state
    areas and their smaller area and staffs were among the factors accounting
    for the differences in the operating costs. Because both the state and the
    national areas are managed to provide habitat for and to protect wildlife,
    the revenues generated from the public uses of these areas were minimal.
•   Both the state forest and the national forests emphasized timber growth
    and production activities, but the state forest did not manage for
    recreation while the national forests did. The state forest’s operating costs
    were significantly smaller than the national forests’, while the costs per
    acre to manage were 35 percent higher. In addition, although the state
    forest generated less revenue, it recovered a much higher percentage of its
    operating costs. Again, the activities emphasized by the state forest, as




    Page 2          GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
             B-276875




             well as its much smaller size and staff, were among the factors
             contributing to the differences in costs and revenues.


             The federal government owns about 30 percent (650 million acres) of the
Background   nation’s total surface area. Four major federal land management
             agencies—the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and the
             Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, Fish and
             Wildlife Service, and National Park Service—manage about 95 percent of
             these lands. Each of these agencies bases the management of its lands and
             resources on its legislatively mandated mission and responsibilities. For
             example, the National Park Service manages its lands to conserve,
             preserve, protect, and interpret the nation’s natural, cultural, and historic
             resources.

             The 50 states also have substantial land holdings, including about
             57 million acres of state forests, 20 million acres of state wildlife areas,
             and 12 million acres of state parks. Although the states rely on a variety of
             organizational structures, they have each created management
             agencies—such as state forestry, wildlife management, and park
             agencies—to manage their lands. Like the federal land management
             agencies, the state agencies base the management of their lands on their
             missions and responsibilities.

             We judgmentally selected and reviewed 14 state and federal land
             management units located in New Mexico, North Carolina, and Utah.
             These units are shown in figure 1. A detailed description of each of these
             units—including its acreage, number of visitors, operating costs, and
             revenues generated—appears in appendix I.




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                                       B-276875




Figure 1: Selected State and Federal
Land Units in New Mexico, North
Carolina, and Utah                                 State units                                      Federal units
                                                                             Parks

                                          City of Rocks State Park,                            El Malpais National
                                                  New Mexico                                  Monument, New Mexico



                                          Hanging Rock State Park,                            Great Smoky Mountains
                                              North Carolina                                National Park, North Carolina



                                                Dead Horse Point                             Canyonlands National Park,
                                                State Park, Utah                                       Utah



                                                                       Wildlife areas

                                          Middle Rio Grande Valley                              Bosque del Apache
                                          Waterfowl Management                                National Wildlife Refuge,
                                             Areas, New Mexico                                      New Mexico



                                        Sandhills Game Land, North                           Pee Dee National Wildlife
                                                  Carolina                                    Refuge, North Carolina



                                            Ogden Bay Waterfowl                               Bear River Migratory Bird
                                           Management Area, Utah                                   Refuge, Utah



                                                                           Forests
                                         Bladen Lakes State Forest,                          Nantahala-Pisgah National
                                              North Carolina                                   Forest, North Carolina




                                       Page 4            GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
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                        We used several measures to provide additional perspective on the
                        operating costs and revenues generated at these units. First, we used the
                        cost per visitor in comparing the state and national parks because these
                        units collected information on visitation. Then, for all of the units, we used
                        the cost per acre to manage because it provides a uniform measure across
                        units that vary in size. Finally, for the state and national parks and forests,
                        we calculated revenues as a percentage of operating costs to measure
                        these units’ self-sufficiency.


                        New Mexico, North Carolina, and Utah manage their lands for a variety of
Purposes and Uses for   purposes and uses. Most of the state-owned lands in New Mexico and
Which Three States      Utah—95 percent and 65 percent, respectively—are trust lands.2 Unlike
Manage Their Lands      federal lands, these lands are generally not open to the public. Rather, they
                        must be managed to generate revenues for designated beneficiaries
                        through royalties or fees paid for oil and gas production, mining, grazing,
                        or other uses. The remainder of the lands in these states are either
                        sovereign or public lands. These lands are managed for purposes and uses
                        such as wildlife areas, historic areas, and state parks to preserve natural,
                        historic, and scenic resources while providing habitat for wildlife and
                        recreational opportunities for citizens. In addition, some of these lands
                        provide sites for state office buildings and medical facilities.

                        In New Mexico, of the 9.4 million acres owned by the state, 8.9 million
                        acres, or 95 percent, are state trust lands. These lands, granted to New
                        Mexico at statehood, must be managed to generate income for schools and
                        other designated institutions. In fiscal year 1995, uses of these trust lands
                        generated $119.8 million in revenues. Although uses such as grazing, leases
                        of rights-of-way, and commercial activities produced some income, over
                        87 percent of the revenues from New Mexico’s trust lands came from
                        royalties received from oil and gas leases. The remaining acres (about
                        500,000) are managed by various state agencies, including the Commission
                        on Higher Education and the departments of Energy and Minerals and
                        Game and Fish. The purposes and uses of these lands range from state
                        parks and wildlife management areas to sites for state office buildings.

                        All of North Carolina’s state-owned lands are public lands. Because none
                        of the 13 original colonies received trust lands, North Carolina has none.
                        The state’s 480,000 acres are allocated to state departments and agencies
                        to be managed for various purposes and uses, including sites for

                        2
                         Except for Maine, Texas, and West Virginia, the states that joined the Union after 1803 received grants
                        of land for the benefit of and use by schools in these states. These lands are generally known as state
                        trust lands.



                        Page 5                GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
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                       correctional facilities, educational facilities, office buildings, parks and
                       recreational areas, and warehouse facilities. The largest portion of these
                       lands—almost 380,000 acres, or 79 percent—has been allocated to the
                       Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources. These lands
                       are used to (1) provide habitat to wildlife and provide recreational
                       opportunities to hunters and anglers, (2) promote a better understanding
                       of forestry, or (3) conserve and preserve natural resources for the benefit
                       of all of North Carolina’s citizens.

                       In Utah, 3.7 million, or 65 percent, of the 5.7 million acres of state-owned
                       land are held in trust for designated public institutions, primarily schools,
                       which benefit from the income generated from the use of these lands. In
                       1995, Utah’s trust lands generated $15.6 million in income for their
                       beneficiaries from uses such as mining, oil and gas production, grazing,
                       and special uses requiring permits. Mineral leases, which generated
                       $11 million in royalties, constituted the most significant source of revenue.

                       About 1.5 million of Utah’s remaining 2 million acres are managed for
                       multiple uses and sustained yield. About 1.3 million acres are associated
                       with the Great Salt Lake, including land and water that are used for
                       recreation but also generate revenue for the state through mineral
                       extractions. Various state agencies and departments manage the
                       remainder of Utah’s lands for a variety of purposes and uses, including
                       road rights-of-way, correctional facilities, and state parks and wildlife
                       areas.


                       During fiscal years 1994 and 1995,3 the state and national parks we
Similarities and       selected conducted similar activities, but placed differing emphasis on
Differences in State   activities such as visitor services and resource stewardship. This differing
and National Parks     emphasis, along with differences in other factors such as the units’ area
                       and number of staff, enabled the state parks to operate at less cost—both
                       overall and per visitor. However, the state parks cost more per acre to
                       manage than the national parks. The state parks usually generated less
                       revenue than the national parks, but they recovered a higher percentage of
                       their operating costs.

                       During this 2-year period, the selected state and national parks both
                       conducted activities connected with visitor services, resource
                       stewardship, operations and maintenance, and administration. These

                       3
                        For the state and national parks we reviewed, we obtained information on the cost of operations,
                       number of visitors, and revenues generated for fiscal years 1994 and 1995. For the three states, the
                       fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.



                       Page 6                GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
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activities included providing campgrounds and visitor centers, monitoring
and protecting park resources, and maintaining park facilities and
structures. All of the state and national parks spent a substantial portion of
their operating funds—generally from 30 to 40 percent— on operations
and maintenance activities.

While the state and national parks conducted similar activities, they
differed in the emphasis they placed on two activities—visitor services and
resource stewardship. As indicated by the percentage of operating costs
spent on these activities during the 2-year period, the state parks in New
Mexico and Utah emphasized providing recreational opportunities for
visitors, while the national parks emphasized preserving and protecting
park resources. City of Rocks State Park in New Mexico and Dead Horse
Point State Park in Utah each spent 50 percent of their average annual
operating funds on visitor services. El Malpais National Monument in New
Mexico and Canyonlands National Park spent 18 percent and 10 percent,
respectively, of their operating costs on visitor services during this 2-year
period. In contrast, the national parks in these two states spent from 21 to
28 percent of their operating costs on resource stewardship, while the
state parks spent 5 and 4 percent, respectively. Because North Carolina’s
management philosophy is similar to the National Park Service’s, Hanging
Rock State Park and the national park in North Carolina spent similar
percentages on both visitor services and resource stewardship.

Overall, the average annual operating costs for the 2-year period were
substantially lower for the state parks than for the national parks. The
lowest operating cost for a state park was $73,000, compared with
$816,000 for a national park. The national parks cost more to operate for a
number of reasons, including their larger area and more numerous staff.
For example, the 6,192-acre Hanging Rock State Park in North Carolina,
with seven full-time staff, cost $353,000 to operate. In contrast, the
520,000-acre Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with 275 full-time
staff, cost $13.5 million. However, despite the difference in the size of their
staffs, all of the state and national parks spent over half of their operating
funds during this 2-year period on salaries and benefits.

The smaller state parks also had lower costs per visitor than the national
parks for the 2-year period, partly because their operating costs were
lower. For example, New Mexico’s City of Rocks State Park, which had
average annual operating costs of $73,000 and 53,000 visitors, incurred an
average per-visitor cost of $1.37. El Malpais National Monument, which
had average annual operating costs of $816,000 and 99,000 visitors,



Page 7           GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
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                                        incurred an average per-visitor cost of $8.24. Figure 2 shows the average
                                        cost per visitor at the selected state and national parks in New Mexico,
                                        North Carolina, and Utah.


Figure 2: Average Cost per Visitor at
Selected State and National Parks in    Cost per visitor
New Mexico, North Carolina, and Utah,   10.00                                                                            9.80
Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995
                                                                 8.24
                                         8.00




                                         6.00




                                         4.00




                                         2.00                                              1.53
                                                     1.37
                                                                                   1.04                     1.19



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                                                  New Mexico                          North Carolina           Utah
                                            Land management units



                                                                        State parks

                                                                        Federal parks




                                        Even though the state parks cost less to operate and less per visitor than
                                        the national parks, they cost more per acre to manage. The state parks
                                        conduct many of the same activities and incur the same types of costs as
                                        the national parks. However, because the state parks conduct these
                                        activities over a smaller area, they incur higher average costs per acre.
                                        Figure 3 shows the average cost per acre to manage the selected state and
                                        national parks.



                                        Page 8                             GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
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Figure 3: Average Cost per Acre to
Manage Selected State and National   120        Cost per acre (rounded)
Parks, Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995    110        108

                                     100

                                      90

                                      80

                                      70

                                      60                                    57

                                      50
                                                                                                     42
                                      40

                                      30                                              25

                                      20
                                                                                                                     13
                                      10                     7

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                                            New Mexico                         North Carolina           Utah
                                      Land management units



                                                                 State parks

                                                                 Federal parks




                                     Although the state parks usually generated less revenue than the national
                                     parks during the 2-year period, both collected user fees. Differences in the
                                     types of fees charged and in the number of visitors affected the
                                     collections. For example, the state parks typically charged entrance and
                                     camping fees. City of Rocks State Park in New Mexico and Dead Horse
                                     Point State Park in Utah, which emphasized visitor services, both charged
                                     entrance fees. Only one of the three national parks—Canyonlands
                                     National Park in Utah—charged an entrance fee. All three of the state
                                     parks charged camping fees, compared with two of the national parks.
                                     Nevertheless, the national parks, which reported more visitors, usually
                                     generated more revenue. For example, Canyonlands National Park in Utah
                                     reported an average of 440,000 visitors and received about $263,000
                                     annually from entrance and camping fees. Utah’s Dead Horse Point State



                                     Page 9                           GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
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                                         Park, in comparison, reported an average of 183,000 visitors and generated
                                         about $188,000 annually from entrance and camping fees. The revenues
                                         generated by the state parks represented a higher percentage of their
                                         operating costs, in part because their operating costs were lower. For
                                         example, revenues represented about 86 percent of the operating costs at
                                         Dead Horse Point State Park, compared with about 6 percent at
                                         Canyonlands. Figure 4 shows the revenues generated by the selected state
                                         and national parks as a percentage of their operating costs.


Figure 4: Revenues Generated by
Selected State and National Parks as a   Percentage of operating costs
Percentage of Their Operating Costs,     90                                                                   86
Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995
                                         80

                                         70
                                                                                 64

                                         60        56

                                         50

                                         40

                                         30

                                         20

                                         10                                                  6                                   6

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                                               New Mexico                           North Carolina               Utah
                                         Land management units



                                                                      State parks

                                                                      National parks




                                         Appendix II, which contains a detailed comparison of one state and one
                                         national park, as well as additional information on the public uses allowed



                                         Page 10                            GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
                       B-276875




                       and the facilities available, provides an example of the comparisons we
                       made.


                       During fiscal years 1994 and 1995, the state wildlife/waterfowl
Similarities and       management areas and the national refuges both conducted similar
Differences in State   activities, primarily grouped under operations and maintenance. However,
Wildlife/Waterfowl     additional activities included in operating and maintaining the national
                       refuges and other factors, such as differences in acreage and staffing,
Areas and National     contributed to the state areas’ generally having lower average annual
Refuges                operating costs. Because both the state areas and the national refuges are
                       managed to provide habitat for and to protect wildlife, the revenues
                       generated from the public uses of these areas were minimal.

                       At both the state areas and the national refuges, expenditures for
                       operations and maintenance activities accounted for over 60 percent of
                       the costs in the 2 fiscal years. At both, such activities included providing
                       habitat and protecting resources for wildlife/waterfowl and repairing and
                       maintaining structures, equipment, and grounds. Other activities, such as
                       construction, fire protection, and ecological services, were also conducted
                       at some of the state and national areas.

                       However, the costs of operations and maintenance activities at the
                       national refuges included expenditures for providing visitor centers,
                       wildlife observation decks, and interpretative programs. These activities
                       were conducted to encourage compatible public uses, such as
                       bird-watching and wildlife observation, that were not emphasized at the
                       state areas. While the state areas allowed similar public uses, they did not
                       provide the number of facilities or educational/interpretative programs
                       found at the national refuges. For example, among the facilities provided
                       to visitors at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico
                       were a visitor center, a 15-mile vehicle tour route, walking trails, and six
                       wildlife observation decks. In contrast, a vehicle tour route was the only
                       recreational facility available at New Mexico’s Middle Rio Grande Valley
                       Waterfowl Management Areas.

                       The state areas generally cost less to operate than the national refuges.
                       For all three national refuges, the average annual operating costs
                       exceeded $500,000, while only one of the state areas cost as much.4 A
                       number of factors contributed to the higher costs of operating the national

                       4
                        Sandhills Game Land in North Carolina had operating costs of $672,000 in fiscal year 1995, the only
                       year for which cost and revenue data were available.



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                                        refuges. Not only did the national refuges incur more costs for visitor
                                        services (i.e., for additional facilities and interpretative programs), but
                                        they also were larger in area and had more staff than the state areas. For
                                        example, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 73,000-acre Bear River
                                        Migratory Bird Refuge in Utah, which had seven full-time staff, costs an
                                        average of about $663,000 to operate annually. During the same period, the
                                        state of Utah spent an average of about $119,000 annually and retained two
                                        full-time staff to operate Ogden Bay Waterfowl Management Area’s 19,000
                                        acres. Unlike the national parks, the national refuges cost more per acre to
                                        manage than the state areas, with the exception of the Bosque del Apache
                                        National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico.5 Figure 5 shows the average cost
                                        per acre to manage these areas.


Figure 5: Average Cost per Acre to
Manage Selected State                   100           Cost per acre (rounded)
Wildlife/Waterfowl Management Areas
                                            90
and National Wildlife Refuges, Fiscal
Years 1994 and 1995                         80
                                                      70
                                            70

                                            60
                                                                                           54

                                            50

                                            40

                                            30

                                            20                        18
                                                                                  12
                                                                                                                    9
                                            10                                                           6

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                                        Land management areas



                                                                        State wildlife/waterfowl management areas

                                                                        National refuges




                                        5
                                         The water and construction costs incurred by the state area during this 2-year period contributed to
                                        its having a higher per-acre cost than Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.



                                        Page 12                              GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
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                       Most of the state wildlife/waterfowl management areas and national
                       refuges generated less than $50,000 annually.6 At these areas, generating
                       revenue is secondary to providing habitat for and protecting wildlife, and
                       revenues are not generated to cover operating expenses. Very few fees
                       were charged for the public uses allowed at these areas. For example, no
                       state and only one national area, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife
                       Refuge in New Mexico, charged an entrance fee. Instead, the state areas
                       generally received state funds raised from the sale of hunting and fishing
                       licenses. In addition, these areas received between 10 and 75 percent of
                       their operating funds from federal aid grants.7 The state areas in New
                       Mexico and Utah also received funds from the sale of habitat stamps. The
                       national refuges, like the national parks and forests, generally received all
                       of their funding through annual appropriations.

                       Appendix III, which contains a detailed comparison of one state waterfowl
                       management area and a national refuge, as well as additional information
                       on the public uses allowed and the facilities available, provides an
                       example of the comparisons we made.


                       During fiscal years 1993, 1994, and 1995,8 both Bladen Lakes State Forest
Similarities and       and the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests9 in North Carolina conducted
Differences in State   similar activities, such as forest management and utilization. However,
and National Forests   differences in the emphasis that the forests gave to recreation, as well as
                       differences in the size of the forests and of their staffs, contributed to
                       differences in their average annual operating costs and/or revenues. For
                       the much smaller state forest, the costs were significantly lower than for
                       the national forests. Although the state forest also generated less revenue,
                       its lower costs and its emphasis on timber growth and production
                       contributed to a much greater recovery of its costs.



                       6
                        Sandhills Game Land in North Carolina generated about $260,000 in fiscal year 1995 from the sale of
                       timber and pine straw.
                       7
                        The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson Act) provides funding to state wildlife
                       agencies for wildlife conservation and recreation projects. A total of $165.2 million, derived from a
                       federal excise tax on arms and ammunition, will be apportioned to state wildlife agencies in fiscal year
                       1997.
                       8
                        Information presented for the state and national forests provides the average annual operating costs,
                       number of visitors, and revenues for fiscal years 1993, 1994, and 1995.
                       9
                        The Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests are actually two forests (the Nantahala and the Pisgah). They
                       are two of the four national forests in North Carolina, all of which are managed by one forest
                       supervisor.



                       Page 13               GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
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Both the state and the national forests conducted similar activities. The
state forest and the national forests spent 35 percent and 55 percent,
respectively, of their operating funds on forest management and
utilization. This activity included managing timber growth, production, and
sales at both forests. The state forest and the national forests also spent 40
and 12 percent, respectively, of their resources to protect forest land and
resources, which included maintaining forest grounds, roads, and
facilities. Other activities conducted at both forests included
administration and fire protection.

Differences occurred, however, in the activities conducted under forest
management and utilization. The state forest focused on timber growth
and production, while the national forests also emphasized recreation
management, spending 28 percent of their forest management and
utilization funds for this activity. The national forests provided facilities
and services to visitors, which was not a priority at the state forest. For
example, for about 15 million visitors per year, on average, the national
forests provided a visitor center, information booths, and informative
signs and exhibits throughout the forests. The state forest, however, did
not have a separate visitor center or public rest rooms for its
approximately 2,000 visitors.

The state forest cost substantially less to operate than did the national
forests. The average annual cost during the 3-year period to operate the
state forest was over $385,000, while that of the national forests was
$9.2 million. This difference in costs was attributable to differences in the
emphasis given to recreation management, as well as in the size of the
forests and of their staffs. For example, the lower-cost state forest, which
focused on timber growth and production, consisted of 32,000 acres and
employed nine full-time employees. The national forests, which included
recreation management among their major activities, together covered
over 1 million acres and employed 157 full-time staff. Despite the
difference in the size of their staffs, both forests spent about two-thirds of
their operating costs on salaries and benefits.

Although the national forests cost more to operate, the average cost per
acre to manage was 35 percent higher for the state forest than for the
national forests. The average per-acre cost of management was $12.05 for
the state forest, compared with $8.91 for the national forests. This
difference occurs, in part, because the costs of managing the national
forests are spread out over a larger area, reducing the costs per acre.




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                     B-276875




                     The one state forest we reviewed generated less revenue than the national
                     forests, but it produced enough to make itself almost self-sufficient. Both
                     the state forest and the national forests generated most of their revenues
                     from the sale of forest products, such as timber and pine straw. For the
                     3-year period, the state forest generated average annual revenues totaling
                     almost $300,000, or about 77 percent of its operating costs. The national
                     forests together generated average annual revenues of $322,105, almost
                     entirely from timber sales. But because the national forests incurred
                     higher operating costs and emphasized providing visitor services, their
                     revenues amounted to about 4 percent of their operating costs. Since
                     neither forest charged entrance fees, the national forests did not derive
                     additional revenue from their emphasis on visitor services.

                     Appendix IV contains a detailed comparison of the state and national
                     forests, as well as additional information on the public uses allowed and
                     the facilities available.


                     We provided a draft of this report to the Department of Agriculture’s
Agencies’ Comments   Forest Service, the Department of the Interior, the New Mexico State Land
and Our Evaluation   Office, the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, and
                     the states of New Mexico, North Carolina, and Utah for review and
                     comment.

                     We discussed the draft report with the Forest Service’s Director for Policy
                     Analysis and a Senior Policy Officer for North Carolina’s Department of
                     Environment, Health, and Natural Resources. Both agreed that the
                     information contained in the report was accurate and that no changes
                     were needed.

                     The Department of the Interior provided written comments on a draft of
                     this report. While not disagreeing with the information contained in the
                     report, Interior stated that although the report represents a good starting
                     point for comparing federal and state land management, statements made
                     and conclusions drawn in the report could be misleading because of the
                     small number of land units sampled and differences in the activities and
                     emphases of the units compared.

                     We agree that the number of units we examined was small. However, we
                     judgmentally selected the 14 units as case studies to explore similarities
                     and differences in the management of state and federal land units. We did
                     not generalize, statistically project, or draw any conclusions from the data



                     Page 15         GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
B-276875




we gathered on these units. Our report is meant to be a factual
presentation of the similarities and differences in the activities, operating
costs, and revenues of the selected state and federal land units within New
Mexico, North Carolina, and Utah. In addition, we advised readers to use
caution in interpreting the data gathered on these units and in making
decisions on the basis of the data contained in this report because of the
differences in emphasis given to particular activities, the size of the land
units reviewed, the number of staff assigned to the units, and other
factors. Interior’s comments are presented in their entirety, together with
our responses, in appendix VI.

In written comments on a draft of this report, the New Mexico State Land
Office agreed that the information presented on state trust lands was
accurate. According to the Office, the report provided interesting
comparisons of similarities in the management of state and federal land
units and was of particular value in clearly pointing out differences in their
management. The New Mexico State Land Office’s comments are
presented in their entirety in appendix VII.

The states of New Mexico and Utah and the Utah School and Institutional
Trust Lands Administration provided no comments on the draft report.


We performed our work from July 1996 through May 1997 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards. A complete
discussion of our objectives, scope, and methodology appears in appendix
V.

As requested, unless you publicly announce its contents earlier, we plan
no further distribution of this report until 15 days after the date of this
letter. At that time, we will send copies to the Secretaries of Agriculture
and the Interior; the Chief of the Forest Service; the Directors of the Fish
and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service; the governors of New
Mexico, North Carolina, and Utah; the land commissioners of New Mexico
and Utah; and other interested parties. We will also make copies available
to others upon request.




Page 16          GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
B-276875




Please call me at (202) 512-9775 if you or your staff have any questions
about this report. Major contributors to this report are listed in appendix
VIII.




Barry T. Hill
Associate Director, Energy,
  Resources, and Science Issues




Page 17         GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
Contents



Letter                                                                                                 1


Appendix I                                                                                            22
                       State and National Parks                                                       22
Land Units Included    State Wildlife/Waterfowl Management Areas and National                         25
in Our Review            Refuges
                       State and National Forests                                                     28

Appendix II                                                                                           29
                       Public Uses Allowed and Facilities Available                                   29
Comparison of Utah’s   Activities Conducted and Costs of Operations                                   32
Dead Horse Point       Revenues Generated                                                             34
State Park and
Canyonlands National
Park
Appendix III                                                                                          35
                       Public Uses Allowed and Facilities Available                                   35
Comparison of New      Activities Conducted and Costs of Operations                                   37
Mexico’s Middle Rio    Revenues Generated                                                             39
Grande Valley
Waterfowl
Management Areas
and Bosque del
Apache National
Wildlife Refuge
Appendix IV                                                                                           40
                       Public Uses Allowed and Facilities Available                                   40
Comparison of North    Activities Conducted and Costs of Operations                                   42
Carolina’s Bladen      Revenues Generated                                                             43
Lakes State Forest
and the
Nantahala-Pisgah
National Forests



                       Page 18        GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
                        Contents




Appendix V                                                                                              45

Objectives, Scope and
Methodology
Appendix VI                                                                                             47
                        GAO’s Comments                                                                  51
Comments From the
Department of the
Interior
Appendix VII                                                                                            54

Comments From New
Mexico State Land
Office
Appendix VIII                                                                                           57

Major Contributors to
This Report
Tables                  Table I.1: Acreage, Number of Visitors, Operating Costs, and                    22
                          Revenues at Selected State and National Parks
                        Table I.2: Acreage, Number of Visitors, Operating Costs, and                    25
                          Revenues at Selected State Wildlife/Waterfowl Management
                          Areas and National Refuges
                        Table I.3: Acreage, Number of Visitors, Operating Costs, and                    28
                          Revenues at Selected State and National Forests in North
                          Carolina
                        Table II.1: Public Uses Allowed at Dead Horse Point State Park                  31
                          and Canyonlands National Park
                        Table II.2: Facilities Available and Special Services Provided at               31
                          Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park
                        Table II.3: Average Costs of Operations, by Activity, at Dead                   32
                          Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park, Fiscal
                          Years 1994 and 1995
                        Table II.4: Fees Charged in 1995 at Dead Horse Point State Park                 34
                          and Canyonlands National Park for Entrance and Recreational
                          Uses




                        Page 19         GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
          Contents




          Table III.1: Public Uses Allowed at the Middle Rio Grande Valley                36
            Waterfowl Management Areas and Bosque del Apache National
            Wildlife Refuge
          Table III.2: Facilities Available at the Middle Rio Grande Valley               37
            Waterfowl Management Areas and Bosque del Apache National
            Wildlife Refuge
          Table III.3: Average Costs of Operations, by Activity, at the                   38
            Middle Rio Grande Valley Waterfowl Management Areas and
            Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, Fiscal Years 1994
            and 1995
          Table IV.1: Public Uses Allowed at Bladen Lakes State Forest and                41
            the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests
          Table IV.2: Facilities Available at Bladen Lakes State Forest and               41
            the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests
          Table IV.3: Average Costs of Operations, by Activity, at Bladen                 42
            Lakes State Forest and the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests,
            Fiscal Years 1993, 1994, and 1995

Figures   Figure 1: Selected State and Federal Land Units in New Mexico,                   4
            North Carolina, and Utah
          Figure 2: Average Cost per Visitor at Selected State and National                8
            Parks in New Mexico, North Carolina, and Utah, Fiscal Years
            1994 and 1995
          Figure 3: Average Cost per Acre to Manage Selected State and                     9
            National Parks, Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995
          Figure 4: Revenues Generated by Selected State and National                     10
            Parks as a Percentage of Their Operating Costs, Fiscal Years 1994
            and 1995
          Figure 5: Average Cost per Acre to Manage Selected State                        12
            Wildlife/Waterfowl Management Areas and National Wildlife
            Refuges, Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995
          Figure II.1: Location of Dead Horse Point State Park and                        30
            Canyonlands National Park
          Figure III.1: Location of the Middle Rio Grande Valley Waterfowl                36
            Management Areas and Bosque del Apache National Wildlife
            Refuge
          Figure IV.1: Location of Bladen Lakes State Forest and                          40
            Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests




          Page 20         GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
Page 21   GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
Appendix I

Land Units Included in Our Review


                                          We visited both state and federal land management units in each of the
                                          three states included in our review. Table I.1 shows the acreage, number
                                          of visitors, operating costs, and revenues generated at the selected state
                                          and national parks. The same data for the selected state wildlife/waterfowl
                                          management areas and national refuges are shown in table I.2 and for the
                                          selected state and national forests in table I.3. Brief descriptions of the
                                          state and federal units follow each table.



State and National
Parks

Table I.1: Acreage, Number of Visitors,
Operating Costs, and Revenues at                                                                     Number Operating
Selected State and National Parks         Park name                                        Acreage of visitors costs Revenues
                                          New Mexico
                                          City of Rocks State Park                               680       53,478      $73,265      $41,269
                                          El Malpais National Monument                      114,277        99,069      816,368               0
                                          North Carolina
                                          Hanging Rock State Park                              6,192     338,287       352,600      224,899
                                          Great Smoky Mountains National Park               520,000 8,813,854 13,507,940            780,102
                                          Utah
                                          Dead Horse Point State Park                          5,247     183,300       218,651      187,652
                                          Canyonlands National Park                         337,570      440,496 4,318,953          262,592
                                          Note: Except for acreage, the data represent annual averages for fiscal years 1994 and 1995. For
                                          the three states, the fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.

                                          Source: GAO’s analysis of data provided by the National Park Service and the departments of
                                          Parks and Recreation of the respective states.




City of Rocks State Park,                 City of Rocks State Park is located near Faywood, New Mexico, about 28
New Mexico                                miles northeast of Deming. This 680-acre park was established in 1956 to
                                          protect a unique geological formation of monolithic volcanic rocks
                                          arranged in the middle of a large expanse of land. The formation, which
                                          resembles a city, dates back over 30 million years. The park also features
                                          cactus gardens and hiking trails and averages over 50,000 visitors annually.
                                          The park is undergoing a major modernization—adding campsites with
                                          electrical hookups and water, and building a $550,000 visitor center that




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                           Appendix I
                           Land Units Included in Our Review




                           includes complete shower facilities and interpretive displays of the area’s
                           geology.


El Malpais National        El Malpais was created by Public Law 100-225, on December 31, 1987.
Monument, New Mexico       Located in the high desert lands of west-central New Mexico, El Malpais
                           consists of 114,000 acres and is noted for its lava flows and related
                           lava-tube cave systems. Most traditional recreational uses, such as hiking
                           and camping, are allowed. Popular activities include exploring the lava
                           tubes and cultural sites. Mining, timber harvesting, fishing, and hunting are
                           not allowed; grazing, which is currently allowed, will be prohibited after
                           December 31, 1997.


Hanging Rock State Park,   Hanging Rock State Park is located in Danbury, North Carolina. Covering
North Carolina             6,192 acres, the park receives an average of 338,000 visitors each year.
                           Hanging Rock was established in 1936 when the Winston-Salem
                           Foundation, a local philanthropic organization, sold the property to the
                           state of North Carolina for $10. The deed specified that the property be
                           conveyed with the condition that a state or national park be constructed.
                           Hanging Rock State Park was created to protect the property’s scenic,
                           archaeological, geological, recreational, and biological values.


Great Smoky Mountains      The National Park Service Act of May 22, 1926, established the Great
National Park, North       Smoky Mountains National Park. The park, which straddles the border
Carolina                   between Tennessee and North Carolina, is about equally divided between
                           the two states. The park is world renowned for the diversity of its plant
                           and animal resources, the beauty of its ancient mountains, the remnants of
                           its American pioneer culture, and the wilderness sanctuary within its
                           boundaries. Its purpose is to preserve its exceptionally diverse resources
                           and to provide for the public’s enjoyment of them in ways that will leave
                           them essentially unaltered. Timber harvesting, mining, and hunting are
                           prohibited. Grazing is generally not allowed, although the park has two
                           grazing operations under permits to maintain the historical look the park
                           is trying to preserve. Most other recreational uses are allowed.


Dead Horse Point State     Dead Horse Point State Park is located near Moab, Utah. Covering 5,247
Park, Utah                 acres, it was officially designated a state park in December 1959. Towering
                           2,000 feet directly above the Colorado River, the park provides a
                           panoramic view of the river and its intricate canyon system. Several



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                       Appendix I
                       Land Units Included in Our Review




                       viewpoints and paths offer easy access to the park’s vistas. Eleven miles of
                       primitive trails lead hikers to back country viewpoints and natural areas.
                       The visitor center offers rest rooms, interpretive displays, snacks, books,
                       and souvenirs. About 200,000 people visit the park each year. In addition,
                       visitors can use the 21 campgrounds that have electricity, shelters, and
                       tent pads.


Canyonlands National   Canyonlands National Park was established in 1964 by Public Law 88-590.
Park, Utah             Located in the heart of the Colorado Plateau in southeastern Utah, it is
                       noted for its canyons, arches, buttes, towers, and other land forms. Its
                       purpose is to preserve its outstanding scenic, scientific, and archaeological
                       resources for public enjoyment. Mining, grazing, timber harvesting, and
                       hunting are prohibited. Most recreational uses are allowed. Featured
                       recreational uses include viewing the park’s spectacular landscapes,
                       hiking, and camping.




                       Page 24            GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
                                             Appendix I
                                             Land Units Included in Our Review




State
Wildlife/Waterfowl
Management Areas
and National Refuges


Table I.2: Acreage, Number of Visitors, Operating Costs, and Revenues at Selected State Wildlife/Waterfowl Management
Areas and National Refuges
Unit name                                             Acreage     Number of visitors       Operating costs        Revenues
New Mexico
Middle Rio Grande Valley Waterfowl
                                                                                               a
Management Areas                                               5,877                                            $411,420                  $8,799
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge                    57,191                  128,024                  1,023,013                  50,263
North Carolina
                                                                                               a
Sandhills Game Land                                           57,000                                             672,225                 259,428
Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge                               8,443                     7,762                   459,595                  41,381
Utah
Ogden Bay Waterfowl Management Area                           18,860                   60,000                    119,000                      1,000
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge                              72,972                   20,400                    662,842                      5,607
                                             Note: Except for Sandhills Game Land and for acreage, the data represent the annual averages
                                             for fiscal years 1994 and 1995. The data for Sandhills Game Land are for fiscal year 1995, the
                                             only year for which data were available.
                                             a
                                             Not available.

                                             Source: GAO’s analysis of data provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the wildlife
                                             management agencies of the respective states.




Middle Rio Grande Valley                     The Middle Rio Grande Valley Waterfowl Management complex consists of
Waterfowl Management                         four separate sites—Belen, Bernardo, Casa Colorada, and La Joya—
Areas, New Mexico                            located along the Rio Grande River in central New Mexico. These four
                                             units, totaling 5,877 acres, work closely with Bosque del Apache and
                                             Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuges in providing habitat and feed for
                                             migrating waterfowl and cranes.

                                             Belen is located about 1 mile south of the town of Belen, New Mexico, and
                                             has 247 acres. The first increment of land was acquired in 1959 with
                                             federal-aid funds. A portion of the land is used by a sharecropper to raise




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                            Appendix I
                            Land Units Included in Our Review




                            corn for the waterfowl and alfalfa for a cash crop. Waterfowl hunting and
                            bird-watching are permitted, but picnicking and camping are not allowed.

                            Casa Colorada is a 423-acre unit that borders the east bank of the Rio
                            Grande approximately 5 miles south of Belen. The unit provides secure
                            resting habitat and feed for the ducks, geese, and sandhill cranes that
                            winter in the Middle Rio Grande Valley. The area was acquired in 1981
                            with federal-aid funds. A portion of the land is cultivated by a
                            sharecropper. The unit is generally closed to the public, but access is
                            allowed during hunting season.

                            Bernardo is a 1,676-acre unit located near the town of Bernardo, New
                            Mexico, and is the center of activity for the Middle Rio Grande Valley
                            complex. A headquarters building, shop, and two residences are located
                            here, and four New Mexico Department of Game and Fish staff operate
                            from this unit, carrying out crop management, farming, and irrigation
                            operations. Bernardo provides winter habitat and produces corn, grain
                            sorghum, and alfalfa for waterfowl and cranes. Hunting is permitted
                            during the season, and bird-watching is best during the fall and winter
                            months.

                            La Joya is a 3,531-acre unit located approximately 7 miles south of
                            Bernardo, New Mexico. Land purchases began in 1928 and continued
                            through 1948. No farming is carried out at La Joya. It was marshland when
                            first purchased, and it consists of six man-made ponds. The upper three
                            ponds are kept full in spring and summer for nesting waterfowl. Waterfowl
                            hunting is permitted during the season, and fishing is available in the
                            summer.


Bosque del Apache           The Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge was established by
National Wildlife Refuge,   Executive Order 8289 on November 22, 1939, as “a refuge and breeding
New Mexico                  ground for migratory birds and other wildlife.” The 57,191-acre refuge
                            straddles the Rio Grande Valley in Socorro County, New Mexico. Within
                            the refuge’s borders lie three wilderness areas totaling approximately
                            30,850 acres and five natural research areas totaling 18,500 acres. On the
                            refuge, the foothills and mesas are typical high desert, but the lowlands
                            contain marshes that were artificially created to replace the natural
                            wetlands lost to development throughout the middle Rio Grande Valley. A
                            new office/visitor center was added to the refuge’s headquarters in 1983. A
                            15-mile tour route provides wildlife observation opportunities for the more




                            Page 26            GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
                            Appendix I
                            Land Units Included in Our Review




                            than 125,000 visitors to the refuge each year. Recreational uses are
                            encouraged, but timbering, mining, and grazing are prohibited.


Sandhills Game Land,        Sandhills Game Land is located in Hoffman, North Carolina. Covering
North Carolina              57,000 acres and managed to protect and improve wildlife habitat, the area
                            opened in 1948 after state officials signed a 50-year lease with the federal
                            government. Sandhills allows camping in designated areas, horseback
                            riding, hunting, and off-road vehicle use during certain parts of the year. In
                            the early 1970s, Sandhills changed its designation and operation from a
                            wildlife management area to a game land. This change increased the area’s
                            emphasis on recreation as long as it did not affect wildlife.


Pee Dee National Wildlife   Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge consists of 8,443 acres located in the
Refuge, North Carolina      southern piedmont area of North Carolina. Seventy-two percent of the
                            refuge is covered by forest, and approximately 1,200 acres are agricultural
                            lands. Timber and timber-related products are sold on the refuge. Hunting
                            and fishing represent the primary public uses of the refuge. Other public
                            uses include bird-watching, wildlife observation, photography, and hiking.
                            Trapping is not allowed by the public; however, it is carried out by
                            employees of the refuge to control damage by beavers and muskrats.


Ogden Bay Waterfowl         Ogden Bay Waterfowl Management Area is located in Hooper, Utah.
Management Area, Utah       Covering about 19,000 acres on the Weber River Delta of the Great Salt
                            Lake, it is Utah’s largest waterfowl management area. Started as a joint
                            venture between state and federal agencies and a private wildlife group,
                            Ogden Bay was the nation’s first Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration
                            project. The area operates on revenues realized from the sale of state
                            hunting and fishing licenses and federal aid. Its primary mission is to
                            provide wetland wildlife habitat and public recreation. About 60,000
                            people visit the area each year and take part in photography,
                            bird-watching, wildlife observation, hunting, and fishing.


Bear River Migratory Bird   Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge was established in 1928 and is located in
Refuge, Utah                Box Elder County, Utah, just west of Brigham City. The refuge contains
                            73,000 acres and consists primarily of marsh, open water, and mudflats.
                            Migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, and resident wildlife depend on the
                            refuge as a production, feeding, resting, or staging area. Activities for
                            visitors include bird-watching, photography, fishing, and hunting



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                                          Appendix I
                                          Land Units Included in Our Review




                                          waterfowl and pheasant in season. A 12-mile vehicle tour route is open
                                          daily during daylight hours from mid-March through December. The use of
                                          all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles is not permitted.



State and National
Forests

Table I.3: Acreage, Number of Visitors,
Operating Costs, and Revenues at                                                               Number of         Operating
Selected State and National Forests in    Forest name                            Acreage         visitors           costs        Revenues
North Carolina                            Bladen Lakes State Forest                 32,000            2,000       $385,752         $297,757
                                          Nantahala-Pisgah National
                                          Forests                               1,031,000      14,809,004        9,185,177            322,105
                                          Note: Except for acreage, the data represent annual averages for fiscal years 1993, 1994, and
                                          1995.

                                          Source: GAO’s analysis of data provided by the U.S. Forest Service and the North Carolina
                                          Division of Forest Resources.




Bladen Lakes State Forest,                Bladen Lakes State Forest is located in Elizabethtown, North Carolina.
North Carolina                            Covering 32,000 acres and managed for its aesthetic, wildlife, timber, and
                                          soil benefits, the forest opened in 1939. Between 1935 and 1939, the federal
                                          government used and managed the land through the Civilian Conservation
                                          Corps and constructed buildings and roads. In 1939, the State Forest
                                          Service leased the land from the federal government and assumed the
                                          area’s management. Bladen Lakes generates enough revenues for
                                          self-sufficiency, primarily from the sale of timber, pine straw, and
                                          charcoal. Recreational opportunities at the forest include horseback
                                          riding; all-terrain vehicle use; primitive camping; hiking; and, on certain
                                          days of the week, hunting.


Nantahala-Pisgah National                 Nantahala and Pisgah are two of the four national forests in North
Forests, North Carolina                   Carolina that are administered as a single unit of the National Forest
                                          System. These forests are located in the western portion of the state. The
                                          forests were established in 1920 and 1916, respectively, and consist of over
                                          1 million acres. There are no entrance fees into the forests. Activities for
                                          visitors include bird-watching, camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding,
                                          hunting, riding off-road vehicles, and observing wildlife.



                                          Page 28              GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
Appendix II

Comparison of Utah’s Dead Horse Point
State Park and Canyonlands National Park

                      This appendix identifies similarities and differences between Dead Horse
                      Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park. In addition to showing
                      the public uses allowed and the facilities available, it discusses the types
                      of activities conducted and the costs associated with these activities. It
                      also provides information on the cost per visitor and the cost per acre to
                      manage these parks. Finally, it provides information on the types and
                      amounts of the fees charged at the state and national park, the total
                      revenues generated through the collection of fees, and the percentage of
                      the parks’ operating costs that these fees represent.


                      Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park are classified
Public Uses Allowed   as scenic parks and, as figure II. 1 shows, both are located outside Moab,
and Facilities        in southeastern Utah. Table II.1 shows the public uses allowed at both
Available             parks.




                      Page 29         GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
                                      Appendix II
                                      Comparison of Utah’s Dead Horse Point
                                      State Park and Canyonlands National Park




Figure II.1: Location of Dead Horse
Point State Park and Canyonlands
National Park




                                                                Utah




                                                                                 Dead Horse           Moab
                                                                                 Point State Park




                                                                                    Canyonlands
                                                                                    National Park




                                      Page 30           GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
                                                   Appendix II
                                                   Comparison of Utah’s Dead Horse Point
                                                   State Park and Canyonlands National Park




Table II.1: Public Uses Allowed at Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park
                                                                      Uses
                                                                           Wildlife                                          Sight-      Rock
Park name              Camping       Hiking Fishing          Boating       observation Picnicking Photography                seeing      climbing
Dead Horse Point
State Park             •             •                                     •               •              •                  •           •a
Canyonlands
National Park          •             •         •             •             •               •              •                  •           •
                                                   a
                                                   Requires a special-use permit.

                                                   Source: Officials from Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park.



                                                   As table II.1 shows, both Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands
                                                   National Park are used for many of the same purposes. However, boating
                                                   and fishing, which are allowed at Canyonlands, are not found at Dead
                                                   Horse Point. In addition, two oil and gas leases are active at Dead Horse
                                                   Point, but oil and gas production; mining; and other consumptive uses,
                                                   such as grazing and timber harvesting, are not allowed at Canyonlands.
                                                   Neither park allows hunting, and both parks restrict automobiles and
                                                   mountain bikes to established roads.

                                                   Both parks also have facilities, such as visitor centers, and interpretative
                                                   programs to facilitate and encourage public use. Table II.2 shows the
                                                   facilities available and some of the special services provided at each park.


Table II.2: Facilities Available and Special Services Provided at Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National
Park
                                                                                                              Special services
                                                            Facilities available                                 provided
                           Visitor                               Utility                     Drinking                            Interpretative
Park name                  center          Campsites             hookups       Hiking trails water             Rest rooms        programs
Dead Horse Point State
Park                       •               •                     •             •               •               •                 •
Canyonlands National
Park                       •               •                                   •               •               •                 •
                                                   Source: Officials from Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park.



                                                   Although many of the same types of facilities and special services can be
                                                   found at both parks, the number of facilities and the amenities available
                                                   differ. For example, Canyonlands has almost four times the number of




                                                   Page 31              GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
                                           Appendix II
                                           Comparison of Utah’s Dead Horse Point
                                           State Park and Canyonlands National Park




                                           campsites as Dead Horse Point, but the campsites at Dead Horse Point
                                           have utility hookups, which are not provided at Canyonlands. In addition,
                                           Canyonlands has 125 miles of trail, about 11 times the 11 miles of trail
                                           found at Dead Horse Point.


                                           Staff at Dead Horse Point and Canyonlands perform various activities to
Activities Conducted                       meet the parks’ purposes and objectives. These activities include
and Costs of                               collecting entrance fees, maintaining trails, performing routine vehicle
Operations                                 maintenance, and preparing management reports. Table II.3 shows the
                                           average costs of operations, by activity, at these units in fiscal years 1994
                                           and 1995 and the percentage of the unit’s total operating costs that each
                                           activity represents.


Table II.3: Average Costs of Operations, by Activity, at Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park, Fiscal
Years 1994 and 1995
                                            Dead Horse Point                                    Canyonlands
                                                            Percentage of total                                          Percentage of total
Activity                            Cost of activity           operating costs                  Cost of activity            operating costs
Resource stewardshipa                           $8,746                            4                  $1,230,636                                 28
               b
Visitor services                               109,326                          50                        449,255                               10
Operations and
maintenancec                                    78,714                          36                       1,272,443                              29
Administrative/park supportd                    21,865                          10                        714,826                               17
Construction                                         0                            0                       469,941                               11
Othere                                               0                            0                       181,852                                4
Total                                     $218,651                             100                   $4,318,953                             100
                                           Notes: Utah’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30.

                                           Percentages may not add because of rounding.

                                           The costs of the activities at Dead Horse Point State Park are based on estimates of the
                                           percentage of total operating costs spent on these activities provided by the park manager.
                                           a
                                            Resource stewardship consists of activities such as monitoring and protecting park resources
                                           and preserving archaeological and historic sites.
                                           b
                                           Visitor services include interpretation and education, law enforcement and protection, visitor use
                                           management, health and safety, and concession management.
                                           c
                                           Maintenance includes the upkeep and protection of park facilities and structures.
                                           d
                                            Administrative/park support includes the costs associated with administrative and management
                                           activities such as financial management, data processing, and communication services.
                                           e
                                           Other includes expenditures of donations and fees collected.

                                           Source: Officials from Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park.




                                           Page 32               GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
Appendix II
Comparison of Utah’s Dead Horse Point
State Park and Canyonlands National Park




As table II.3 shows, the combined costs associated with maintenance and
administration account for a similar percentage of each park’s total costs.
However, for the remaining two activities—resource stewardship and
visitor services—the percentage spent differs significantly. At Dead Horse
Point, only 4 percent of the operating costs were associated with resource
stewardship, while at Canyonlands, 28 percent went for this activity.
According to the park manager, Dead Horse Point has a smaller area to
manage and does not have the wildlife or cultural and archaeological
resources found at Canyonlands. National Park Service officials also point
out that Canyonlands’ spending in this area is consistent with the Service’s
mission to conserve, preserve, protect, and interpret the nation’s natural,
cultural, and historic resources. In contrast, only 10 percent of
Canyonlands’ operating costs in this period went for visitor services,
compared with 50 percent of Dead Horse Point’s operating costs.
According to the manager of Dead Horse Point, the number of visitors to
the park has increased in the past several years, as have the staff time and
resources devoted to collecting entrance fees and protecting the park’s
visitors.

The average cost per visitor was less at Dead Horse Point ($1.19) than at
Canyonlands ($9.80). However, many of the visitors to Dead Horse Point
stop to enjoy the park’s view for only a short period of time. In contrast,
according to National Park Service officials, Canyonlands is a destination
point and many of its visitors spend several days hiking and camping in its
remote backcountry areas.

Although the average cost per visitor was less at Dead Horse Point, the
average cost per acre to manage was higher. Dead Horse Point cost an
average of $41.67 per acre to manage, whereas Canyonlands cost $12.79
per acre. Although many of the same activities are conducted at the two
parks, Canyonlands is about 60 times the size of Dead Horse Point. As a
result, the operating costs of the national park are spread over a larger
area, and the per-acre costs are smaller than at the state park.

At Dead Horse Point, staff salaries and benefits amounted to over
$166,000, or about 76 percent of the park’s operating costs. While
Canyonlands’ expenditure reports did not identify these costs, according
to the Park Superintendent, about 85 percent of the park’s operating costs,
or over $3 million, went for personnel.




Page 33           GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
                                          Appendix II
                                          Comparison of Utah’s Dead Horse Point
                                          State Park and Canyonlands National Park




                                          Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park generate
Revenues Generated                        revenues by charging entrance fees and a variety of fees for recreational
                                          uses of the park. Dead Horse Point generated an average of $187,652
                                          during fiscal years 1994 and 1995. Canyonlands generated an average of
                                          $262,592. Table II.4 shows the types and amounts of the fees charged by
                                          the two parks.


Table II.4: Fees Charged in 1995 at Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park for Entrance and
Recreational Uses
                                                                                  Backcountry permit fees
                                              Rock                                                            Four-
                                Campsite climbing/                                                           wheel
                      Entrance     rental     hang Commercial                   Day       Back-               drive           Whitewater
Park name                  fees      fees   gliding film making                 use     packing Flatwater campsites               rafting
Dead Horse Point                    $9 per       $5 per
State Park           $4 per car       daya       person               $50b          c          c             c            c                c

Canyonlands
National                            $6 per
                                                         d
Park                 $4 per car      night                             $0e       $5         $10          $10          $25              $25
                                          a
                                             This fee includes a $4-per-car entrance fee.
                                          b
                                           This is the minimum charge for one vehicle and up to five people. Additional fees are charged for
                                          larger film crews.
                                          c
                                             Not applicable.
                                          d
                                           Canyonlands allows rock climbing but does not charge a fee. Canyonlands prohibits hang
                                          gliding.
                                          e
                                           Canyonlands does not charge a fee unless a ranger is needed. If one is needed, then
                                          Canyonlands charges for the amount of time the ranger’s services are required.

                                          Source: Officials from Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park.



                                          In Utah, the revenues generated by a park are directed to the state’s
                                          general fund but are eventually returned to the park system through
                                          appropriations. Until recently, moneys generated through the collection of
                                          such fees at national parks were directed to the General Fund of the U.S.
                                          Treasury. The revenues generated annually by Dead Horse Point through
                                          collections of entrance, camping, and user fees—about $188,000—are not
                                          returned directly to the park; however, they represent 86 percent of the
                                          park’s operating costs. Although Canyonlands generated more revenues
                                          than Dead Horse Point (about $263,000), this sum represented only
                                          6 percent of its operating costs.




                                          Page 34                 GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
Appendix III

Comparison of New Mexico’s Middle Rio
Grande Valley Waterfowl Management Areas
and Bosque del Apache National Wildlife
Refuge
                      This appendix identifies similarities and differences between the Middle
                      Rio Grande Valley Waterfowl Management Areas10 and Bosque del Apache
                      National Wildlife Refuge. In addition to showing the public uses allowed
                      and the facilities, such as visitor centers and tour routes, available at each
                      unit, it discusses the types of activities conducted at the units, the costs
                      associated with these activities, and the cost per acre to manage these
                      units. The appendix also provides information on the types and amounts
                      of revenues generated.


                      The Middle Rio Grande Valley Waterfowl Management Areas and Bosque
Public Uses Allowed   del Apache National Wildlife Refuge are located in south central New
and Facilities        Mexico along the Rio Grande River. Bosque del Apache National Wildlife
Available             Refuge was established in 1939 and today encompasses 57,191 acres. The
                      Middle Rio Grande Valley Waterfowl Management Areas, which total 5,877
                      acres, were purchased beginning in 1928 with federal funding. Both units
                      provide habitat and feed for migrating and wintering waterfowl and
                      cranes. Figure III.1 shows the location of each of these units, and table
                      III.1 provides information on the public uses allowed.




                      10
                       The Middle Rio Grande Valley Waterfowl Management Areas consist of four waterfowl areas that are
                      managed as one complex—Belen, Casa Colorada, Bernardo, and La Joya.



                      Page 35              GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
                                           Appendix III
                                           Comparison of New Mexico’s Middle Rio
                                           Grande Valley Waterfowl Management
                                           Areas and Bosque del Apache National
                                           Wildlife Refuge




Figure III.1: Location of the Middle Rio
Grande Valley Waterfowl Management
Areas and Bosque del Apache National
Wildlife Refuge


                                                                                      New Mexico

                                                                                           Middle Rio Grande Valley
                                                                                           Waterfowl Management Areas
                                                                                           Belen WMA
                                                                                           Casa Colorada WMA
                                                                                           Bernardo WMA
                                                                                           La Joya WMA


                                                                                           Bosque del Apache
                                                                                           National Wildlife Refuge




Table III.1: Public Uses Allowed at the Middle Rio Grande Valley Waterfowl Management Areas and Bosque Del Apache
National Wildlife Refuge
                                                       Nonconsumptive uses
                              Bird-          Wildlife                                                 Consumptive uses
Unit name                     watching     observation             Photography         Hiking        Camping            Hunting      Fishing
Middle Rio Grande Valley
Waterfowl Management Areas •               •                       •                                                    •            •
Bosque del Apache National
Wildlife Refuge               •            •                       •                   •             •a                 •b           •
                                           a
                                           Primitive camping is available on a reservation basis to educational and volunteer groups.
                                           b
                                               Small game hunting is allowed at Bosque in designated areas. Waterfowl hunting is not allowed.

                                           Source: Officials from the Middle Rio Grande Valley Waterfowl Management Areas and Bosque
                                           del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.




                                           Page 36                 GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
                                           Appendix III
                                           Comparison of New Mexico’s Middle Rio
                                           Grande Valley Waterfowl Management
                                           Areas and Bosque del Apache National
                                           Wildlife Refuge




                                           Although some of the same uses are allowed at both locations, public uses
                                           are emphasized at Bosque much more than at Middle Rio Grande. One of
                                           Bosque’s goals is to provide the general public with an opportunity to see
                                           and understand wildlife. To facilitate this goal, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
                                           Service built a visitor center at the refuge in 1983. The Service has also
                                           constructed six observation decks and installed interpretative signs and
                                           exhibits to encourage public use of the refuge. In contrast, except for a
                                           vehicle tour route, no recreational facilities are available at Middle Rio
                                           Grande. In addition, although portions of Middle Rio Grande are open to
                                           the public year-round for bird-watching and other activities, access to one
                                           area is not permitted except during hunting season. Table III.2 shows the
                                           facilities available at each of the units.


Table III.2: Facilities Available at the Middle Rio Grande Valley Waterfowl Management Areas and Bosque del Apache
National Wildlife Refuge
                                                                                   Storage and
                           Headquarters     Visitor                                maintenance      Employee
Unit name                  office           center        Rest rooms Tour route    facilities       housing      Duck blinds
Middle Rio Grande
Valley Waterfowl
Management Areas        •                                              •               •                   •               •
Bosque del Apache
National Wildlife Refuge •             •               •               •               •                   •
                                           Source: Officials from the Middle Rio Grande Valley Waterfowl Management Areas and Bosque
                                           del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.




                                           Because the areas have existed for a number of years, many of their
Activities Conducted                       activities consist of maintenance, including the maintenance of dikes.
and Costs of                               Other activities include the production and manipulation of food to
Operations                                 manage waterfowl population levels. Table III.3 shows the average costs of
                                           operations, by activity, at these areas in fiscal years 1994 and 1995.




                                           Page 37             GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
                                         Appendix III
                                         Comparison of New Mexico’s Middle Rio
                                         Grande Valley Waterfowl Management
                                         Areas and Bosque del Apache National
                                         Wildlife Refuge




Table III.3: Average Costs of
Operations, by Activity, at the Middle                                        Middle Rio Grande Valley
Rio Grande Valley Waterfowl                                                    Waterfowl Management               Bosque del Apache
Management Areas and Bosque del                                                        Areas                    National Wildlife Refuge
Apache National Wildlife Refuge,                                                                Percentage                        Percentage
Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995                                                                          of total                          of total
                                                                                    Cost of      operating            Cost of      operating
                                         Activity                                   activity         costs            activity         costs
                                         Ecological servicesa                            $0                 0       $104,048                  10
                                         Operation and maintenance
                                         of refugeb                                 394,707               85         863,497                  84
                                                                                            c                                                   d
                                         Construction                                61,713               15              775
                                         Fire protection                                   0                0          42,018                  4
                                         Other                                             0                0          12,675                  1
                                         Total                                     $411,420              100      $1,023,013                  100
                                         Notes: The costs of the activities at the Middle Rio Grande Valley Waterfowl Management Areas
                                         are based on estimates of the percentage of total operating costs spent on these activities
                                         provided by an official of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

                                         Percentages may not add because of rounding.
                                         a
                                          Ecological services include providing technical assistance and consultation on activities that
                                         affect wildlife resources—primarily on other federal or private lands.
                                         b
                                          Operation and maintenance include habitat management; grounds upkeep; and the repair and
                                         maintenance of buildings, pumping facilities, and water control structures. Salaries for the staff
                                         needed to maintain equipment and facilities are also included.
                                         c
                                         Construction represents the costs of constructing dikes for a major wetlands renovation.
                                         d
                                             The amount was less than 1 percent.

                                         Source: Officials from the Middle Rio Grande Valley Waterfowl Management Areas and Bosque
                                         del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.



                                         As table III.3 shows, the costs of operating and maintaining Middle Rio
                                         Grande and Bosque account for 85 and 84 percent, respectively, of these
                                         areas’ average annual operating costs for fiscal years 1994 and 1995.
                                         However, included in the costs of operations at Bosque are the costs of
                                         providing visitor services and collecting entrance fees, which are not
                                         incurred at Middle Rio Grande. The percentage of operating costs
                                         expended for other activities varied. For example, 15 percent of Middle
                                         Rio Grande’s operating costs went for construction, compared with less
                                         than 1 percent of Bosque’s costs. In addition, fire protection accounted for
                                         4 percent of Bosque’s total costs, while Middle Rio Grande, which relied
                                         on New Mexico’s Division of Forestry for fire protection, had no costs in
                                         this area.




                                         Page 38                 GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
                     Appendix III
                     Comparison of New Mexico’s Middle Rio
                     Grande Valley Waterfowl Management
                     Areas and Bosque del Apache National
                     Wildlife Refuge




                     The managers of both units told us that employees’ salaries and benefits
                     were their biggest cost. For example, $610,865, or 60 percent, of Bosque’s
                     average costs for fiscal years 1994 and 1995 went for the salaries and
                     benefits of the refuge’s 15 full-time employees. The salaries and benefits of
                     Middle Rio Grande’s four full-time employees accounted for $218,817, or
                     53 percent, of the areas’ average costs for the same period.

                     In addition to its staff, Bosque has the largest volunteer program in the
                     national refuge system. Bosque’s volunteers donated 31,166 hours in
                     calendar year 1995 and rendered such services as providing information
                     for visitors, performing construction, and conducting a population census.
                     Bosque estimated that the work performed by these volunteers was
                     equivalent to the work of about 15 full-time employees. Middle Rio Grande
                     currently does not have such a program, although officials from New
                     Mexico’s Department of Game and Fish have indicated that they plan to
                     develop one.

                     One other major difference in the costs associated with managing these
                     two units is the management cost per acre. Despite Middle Rio Grande’s
                     smaller size and lower operating costs, the total management cost per acre
                     is almost 4 times greater for the state areas (about $70) than for the
                     national refuge (about $18). One factor in the difference is the cost of
                     water. According to the manager of the Middle Rio Grande complex, water
                     to irrigate its fields costs over $70,000 a year. Bosque, by contrast, does
                     not incur any costs for water because it owns a 1906 water rights privilege.

                     Not only the costs but also the sources of operating funds for these two
                     units differ. For example, about 75 percent of Middle Rio Grande’s
                     operating funds come from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration
                     Program. The remaining 25 percent come from state funds generated by
                     the sale of state hunting and fishing licenses. Bosque relies on federal
                     appropriations for its funding.


                     Neither Bosque nor Middle Rio Grande generated significant amounts of
Revenues Generated   revenue in relation to its total operating costs. Bosque generated an
                     average of over $50,000 in fiscal years 1994 and 1995, primarily from
                     entrance fees. Middle Rio Grande generated an average of about $19,000 in
                     hay sales in fiscal years 1994 and 1995.




                     Page 39           GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
Appendix IV

Comparison of North Carolina’s Bladen
Lakes State Forest and the Nantahala-Pisgah
National Forests
                                        This appendix identifies similarities and differences between Bladen Lakes
                                        State Forest and the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests in North Carolina.11
                                        In addition to showing the public uses allowed and the facilities available,
                                        it discusses the types of activities conducted at the units, the costs
                                        associated with these activities, and the costs per acre to manage these
                                        forests. The appendix also provides information on the types and amounts
                                        of revenue generated and the percentage of the forests’ operating costs
                                        that the revenues represent.


                                        Bladen Lakes and Nantahala-Pisgah are multiuse forests that are managed
Public Uses Allowed                     with timber production as one of their primary purposes. Originally federal
and Facilities                          property, the 32,000-acre tract that is now Bladen Lakes State Forest was
Available                               turned over to North Carolina’s Forest Service to manage in 1939.
                                        Nantahala-Pisgah, established over 75 years ago, contains 1,031,000 acres.
                                        Both the state and the national forests provide public uses such as
                                        camping, hiking, and hunting. Figure IV.1 shows the location of each of
                                        these units. Table IV.1 identifies the public uses allowed at both forests.


Figure IV.1: Location of Bladen Lakes
State Forest and Nantahala-Pisgah
National Forests
                                                                                                   North Carolina



                                                                      Nantahala - Pisgah
                                                                      National Forests



                                                                                                          Bladen Lakes
                                                                                                          State Forest




                                        11
                                          The Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests are actually two forests (Nantahala and Pisgah). They are two
                                        of the four national forests located in North Carolina. One forest supervisor manages all four national
                                        forests.



                                        Page 40               GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
                                                 Appendix IV
                                                 Comparison of North Carolina’s Bladen
                                                 Lakes State Forest and the Nantahala-Pisgah
                                                 National Forests




Table IV.1: Public Uses Allowed at Bladen Lakes State Forest and the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests
                                                                   Public uses
                     Horseback        Off-road                                         Wildlife    Bird-    Timber                   Pine straw
Forest name          riding           vehicles    Camping         Hiking Hunting       observation watching harvesting               harvesting
Bladen Lakes
State Forest         •                •           •               •      •             •               •            •                •
Nantahala-Pisgah
National Forests     •                •           •               •      •             •               •            •                •
                                                 Source: Officials from Bladen Lakes State Forest and the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests.



                                                 As table IV.1 indicates, the forests allow both recreational and
                                                 consumptive uses. However, although both the state and the national
                                                 forests allow similar uses, the public makes more extensive use of the
                                                 national forests. For example, Nantahala-Pisgah reported an average of
                                                 about 15 million visitors annually. Bladen Lakes does not actively track the
                                                 number of visitors to it. However, the forest supervisor estimated that
                                                 about 2,000 people—including hunters, military personnel performing
                                                 maneuvers, boy scouts, and university students performing forest-related
                                                 research—visit the forest each year. Table IV.2 identifies the facilities
                                                 available at each of the units.


Table IV.2: Facilities Available at Bladen Lakes State Forest and the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests
                                                                   Facilities available
                                                                                                               Equipment
                                                                                                               storage and
                         Headquarters/      Visitor           Public rest                                      maintenance           Employee
Forest name              district office    center            rooms           Campsites        Showers         facilities            housing
Bladen Lakes State
Forest                   •                                                    •                                •                     •
Nantahala-Pisgah
National Forests         •                  •                 •               •                •               •                     •
                                                 Source: Officials from Bladen Lakes State Forest and the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests.



                                                 As table IV.2 shows, the national forests have more public-use facilities
                                                 available than the state forest. Not only do they have more and better
                                                 developed campsites than Bladen Lakes, but they also have visitor and
                                                 information centers located throughout their areas. While visitor
                                                 information and rest rooms are available at Bladen Lakes’ administrative
                                                 office, no separate visitor center or public rest rooms are available.




                                                 Page 41              GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
                                     Appendix IV
                                     Comparison of North Carolina’s Bladen
                                     Lakes State Forest and the Nantahala-Pisgah
                                     National Forests




                                     Many of the activities conducted at both the state and the national forests
Activities Conducted                 pertain to the management and utilization of the forests or to the
and Costs of                         protection of the forests’ lands and resources. Such activities include the
Operations                           production and sale of timber and timber-related products, the protection
                                     of trees and other forest resources, and the maintenance of roads and
                                     trails. Table IV.3 shows the average costs of operations, by activity, at
                                     these forests in fiscal years 1993, 1994, and 1995.

Table IV.3: Average Costs of
Operations, by Activity, at Bladen                                                                            Nantahala-Pisgah National
Lakes State Forest and the                                               Bladen Lakes State Forest                    Forests
Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests,                                                           Percentage                       Percentage
Fiscal Years 1993, 1994, and 1995                                                                of total                         of total
                                                                               Cost of        operating            Cost of     operating
                                     Activity                                  activity           costs            activity        costs
                                     Forest management and
                                     utilizationa                             $135,013                   35    $5,085,888                55
                                     Forest land and resource
                                     protectionb                               154,301                   40      1,104,303               12
                                     General administration                     38,575                   10      1,970,459               21
                                     Fire protectionc                           38,575                   10       637,268                 7
                                     Construction                                      0                 0        178,847                 2
                                     Other                                      19,288                   5        208,411                 2
                                     Total                                    $385,752                  100    $9,185,177             100
                                     Notes: North Carolina’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.

                                     Totals may not add because of rounding.

                                     The costs of the activities at Bladen Lakes State Forest are based on estimates of the percentage
                                     of total operating costs spent on these activities provided by the forest supervisor.
                                     a
                                      Includes recreation management, wildlife habitat management, rangeland management, forest
                                     land management, and ecosystem management.
                                     b
                                     Includes soil, water, and air management; mineral and geology management; land ownership
                                     management; infrastructure management; and law enforcement operations.
                                     c
                                     Includes fire protection and emergency fire fighting.

                                     Source: Officials from Bladen Lakes State Forest and the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests.



                                     Table IV.3 indicates that the only two activities that accounted for similar
                                     percentages of the operating costs during the 3-year period at both the
                                     state and the national forests were fire protection and other. For the
                                     remaining activities, the percentages differed. Moreover, for forest
                                     management and utilization, the types of activities as well as the
                                     percentages differed. Specifically, about 28 percent of the about



                                     Page 42               GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
                     Appendix IV
                     Comparison of North Carolina’s Bladen
                     Lakes State Forest and the Nantahala-Pisgah
                     National Forests




                     $5.1 million in forest management and utilization costs at
                     Nantahala-Pisgah, or 15 percent of the forests’ total operating costs, were
                     attributable to recreation management—an activity not conducted at
                     Bladen Lakes. The percentages attributable to forest land and resource
                     protection also differed. Forty percent of Bladen Lakes’ total operating
                     costs were attributable to protecting forest lands and resources, while
                     such activities accounted for only 12 percent of Nantahala-Pisgah’s total
                     operating costs. Administrative activities also accounted for a higher
                     percentage of the national forests’ total operating costs. About 21 percent
                     of Nantahala-Pisgah’s total operating costs were attributable to
                     administration, compared with only 10 percent of Bladen Lakes’ costs.

                     At both the state and the national forests, employees’ salaries and benefits
                     were the biggest operating costs. According to the forest supervisor at
                     Bladen Lakes, the salaries and benefits for nine full-time staff accounted
                     for $276,019, or 71 percent of the forest’s total operating costs. In addition,
                     Bladen Lakes receives supplemental labor through the North Carolina
                     prison system, which provides up to five inmates to perform unskilled
                     labor at a $1 per day per inmate for up to 3 or 4 days per week. The
                     salaries and benefits of Nantahala-Pisgah’s 157 full-time permanent
                     employees accounted for a little over $6 million, or 66 percent of the
                     forests’ operating costs.

                     Despite its substantially lower average annual operating costs, Bladen
                     Lakes incurred higher per-acre management costs than did the national
                     forests. The average cost per acre to manage Bladen Lakes during the 3
                     fiscal years was $12.05, or 35 percent more than the $8.91 per-acre cost to
                     manage the national forests.

                     Like the costs of activities, the sources of operating funds differ for these
                     units. For example, Bladen Lakes is virtually self-sustaining, generating
                     revenues through the sale of timber, pine straw, and charcoal. In addition,
                     it receives $20,000 to $25,000 annually from wildlife receipts. In contrast,
                     the national forests rely primarily on federal appropriations for their
                     funding.


                     Most of the revenues generated by Bladen Lakes State Forest and the
Revenues Generated   Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests come from the sale of forest products,
                     such as timber and pine straw. Neither the state nor the national forests
                     charge entrance fees. During the 3 fiscal years, Bladen Lakes generated an
                     average of $297,757 annually, of which $264,526, or 89 percent, came from



                     Page 43            GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
Appendix IV
Comparison of North Carolina’s Bladen
Lakes State Forest and the Nantahala-Pisgah
National Forests




the sale of forest products. The remainder was generated from the sale of
surplus property, rental fees for employees’ homes, and payments received
from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission for hunting
access. At Nantahala-Pisgah, a higher proportion of the total revenues
generated in fiscal year 1995 came from the sale of forest products.
Specifically, of the average annual revenues of $322,105, 99 percent
($319,300) came from the sale of forest products.

Although the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests generated higher average
annual revenues than Bladen Lakes State Forest, the revenues generated
by Bladen Lakes represented a higher percentage of its operating costs.
The revenues generated by Bladen Lakes during this 3-year period
represented 77 percent of its operating costs. In comparison, the revenues
generated by the national forests represented only 4 percent of their
operating costs.




Page 44            GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
Appendix V

Objectives, Scope and Methodology


              Because you were interested in comparing federal and state land
              management, you requested that we (1) identify the purposes and uses for
              which state-owned lands are managed and (2) compare state and federal
              land management activities, operating costs, and revenues. As agreed with
              your offices, we limited our review to three states—New Mexico, North
              Carolina, and Utah. Within the 48 contiguous states, both New Mexico and
              Utah were among the top four in the number of state-owned acres (New
              Mexico ranked first) and Utah was among the top third in the number of
              federally managed acres. Although North Carolina has less state-owned
              and federally managed acreage than other states, it has a diverse range of
              both state and federal land management units, including a state forest that
              is managed for timber production.

              To identify the purposes and uses for which the three states manage their
              lands, we interviewed state officials in New Mexico, North Carolina, and
              Utah. We also obtained and reviewed relevant documents and data on the
              purposes and uses of the state-owned lands.

              To compare the activities, operating costs, and revenues of state and
              federal land management units, we judgmentally selected 14 state and
              federal units in New Mexico, North Carolina, and Utah. We selected the
              state units that appeared to most closely approximate the activities
              performed and the uses allowed at the federal units. We chose a state park
              and a waterfowl/wildlife management area in each state and, in North
              Carolina, a state forest. These seven state units were the same type of unit
              as the federal unit to which they were compared, were generally in the
              same geographic location, and allowed similar public uses. At each of the
              selected state units, we interviewed unit managers and obtained
              documentation on the activities conducted, the operating costs, the public
              uses allowed, and the revenues generated.

              The federal units, selected on the basis of their (1) size, (2) number of
              visitors, and (3) types of uses allowed, included a national park and a
              national wildlife or migratory bird refuge in each state and, in North
              Carolina, a national forest. We interviewed senior-level land management
              officials of the Department of the Agriculture’s Forest Service and the
              Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park
              Service at headquarters in Washington, D.C., as well as at the selected field
              locations. We also obtained and reviewed documentation on the activities
              conducted, the operating costs, and the revenues generated at the federal
              units. We did not verify the completeness, accuracy, or reliability of the
              data provided by the federal and state agencies.



              Page 45         GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
Appendix V
Objectives, Scope and Methodology




To identify the similarities and differences between the activities,
operating costs, and revenues of the selected state units and those of the
federal units, we compared the seven state units we visited to seven
federal land management units located in these three states. The states
and the federal agencies used different categories when recording and
reporting their costs. To ensure that the costs were comparable, we asked
the state managers to estimate their costs using the federal categories. We
also averaged units’ statistics for the number of visitors, operating costs,
and revenues when data for more than 1 year were available. We also used
several other measures—average cost per visitor, average cost per acre to
manage, and revenues generated as a percentage of operating costs—to
provide additional perspective on the operating costs and revenues
generated at the state and federal units.




Page 46           GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
Appendix VI

Comments From the Department of the
Interior

Note: GAO comments
supplementing those in the
report text appear at the
end of this appendix.




                             Page 47   GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
                 Appendix VI
                 Comments From the Department of the
                 Interior




See comment 1.




Now on p. 2.
See comment 2.




See comment 3.


Now on p. 1.
See comment 4.




                 Page 48           GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
                 Appendix VI
                 Comments From the Department of the
                 Interior




Now on p. 1.
See comment 4.




Now on p. 3.
See comment 5.




Now on p. 5.
See comment 6.



Now on p. 6.
See comment 7.




                 Page 49           GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
                  Appendix VI
                  Comments From the Department of the
                  Interior




Now on p. 6.
See comment 8.




Now on p. 7.
See comment 8.




Now on p. 11.
See comment 9.




Now on p. 22.
See comment 10.




                  Page 50           GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
                 Appendix VI
                 Comments From the Department of the
                 Interior




                 The following are GAO’s comments on the Department of the Interior’s
                 letter dated June 4, 1997.


                 1. The report contains no conclusions and is meant to be a factual
GAO’s Comments   presentation of the similarities and differences in the activities, operating
                 costs, and revenues of 14 selected state and federal land management
                 units within the states of New Mexico, North Carolina, and Utah.
                 Furthermore, while the report presents data on the units’ overall operating
                 costs and revenues, it also provides information on the percentage of the
                 units’ total operating costs expended on particular activities. In addition,
                 the report presents the cost per acre to manage each unit and, where
                 appropriate, the cost per visitor, the revenues generated as a percentage of
                 the operating costs, and explanations for differences in the units’ costs and
                 revenues. This factual presentation is based on data provided by each of
                 the state and federal units and on mathematical computations made using
                 these data. The managers of the 14 selected state and federal units were
                 sent the relevant portions of the report for review and verification. None
                 provided any substantive corrections or clarifications.

                 2. The paragraph in question is a summary of the similarities and
                 differences in the state and national parks and, as such, does not include
                 the supporting evidence. The supporting evidence for the information in
                 this paragraph appears later in the report in the section entitled
                 “Similarities and Differences in State and National Parks.” In this section,
                 we provide the basis for our statements about the emphasis placed on
                 particular activities by the state and national parks. We also discuss the
                 differences in overall costs, costs per visitor, costs per acre, and revenues
                 generated and the factors, such as the units’ acreage and staffing, that
                 contribute to these differences. In addition, appendix II, which contains a
                 detailed comparison of a state and national park, provides an example of
                 the types of comparisons we made.

                 3. The term “judgmentally” appears in the report in three places to inform
                 and remind the reader that the 14 state and federal units were not
                 randomly selected. The data are not statistically projectable, and we did
                 not draw any conclusions from the data we collected. We selected the
                 units as case studies to explore similarities and differences in the
                 management of state and federal units.

                 4. This report is meant to be a factual presentation of the similarities and
                 differences in selected state and federal land management units. We did



                 Page 51           GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
Appendix VI
Comments From the Department of the
Interior




not revise the report in response to this comment because the “Results in
Brief” section summarizes our findings for each of the review’s objectives.
As we explained earlier, sections appearing later in the report contain the
details supporting our findings. In addition, we included the statement
advising the reader to use caution before we summarized the similarities
and differences.

We recognize that the data presented in the report raise additional
questions; however, further analysis is required to answer questions such
as those posed by Interior.

5. We revised our final report to clearly indicate that this information
applies to all 50 states. However, we did not revise the final report to say
that each park’s management is consistent with the park’s enabling
legislation or proclamation. We introduced the purposes for which the
Park Service manages its lands as an example of how each of the four
major federal land management agencies manages its lands according to
its legislatively mandated mission. In addition, because we included a
cautionary statement at the beginning of our report, we do not believe that
an explanation of the limitation of using a cost-per-acre figure is
necessary.

6. As this section points out and emphasizes by including revenue figures,
the state trust lands, unlike public lands, are managed to generate revenue.
Since, neither a comparison of the revenues generated by the different
types of state-owned lands nor a comparison of the economic productivity
of the different types of state-owned lands was an objective of our review,
we did not revise our report in response to this comment.

7. Page 9 of our draft report provided working definitions of these
activities. For example, we cited campgrounds and visitor centers as
examples of visitor services and identified monitoring and protecting park
resources as examples of resource stewardship.

Although we recognize that law enforcement is a component of resource
stewardship, the definitions that appear in appendix II of our report were
taken from the Park Service’s 1997 budget justification. In addition, as we
explain on page 42 of appendix II of our draft report, Dead Horse Point
State Park, which expended only 4 percent of its operating costs on
resource stewardship, has a smaller area to manage and does not have the
wildlife or cultural and archaeological resources (backcountry) that
Canyonlands National Park has to protect. We further point out that the



Page 52           GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
Appendix VI
Comments From the Department of the
Interior




28 percent of its operating costs that Canyonlands spent on this activity is
consistent with the National Park Service’s mission.

8. The cost per acre is a mathematical computation of a unit’s total
operating costs divided by the unit’s acreage. On page 11 of our draft
report, we explain that the state parks conduct many of the same activities
and incur the same types of costs as the national parks, but because of
their smaller area, they incur a higher cost per acre. An evaluation of the
parks’ salary structure and staff allocation was beyond the scope of our
review; such an evaluation would require further analysis.

As Interior noted in its second general comment, the report observes that
the selected national parks gave a higher priority to conserving natural
resources than the state parks. However, comparing the unfunded needs
of the state and federal units was not an objective of our review.

Interior also suggests that the report would be more useful if it were to
compare the percentages of user fee collections returned to the state and
national parks. We provided this type of information on Dead Horse Point
State Park and Canyonlands National Park in appendix II and therefore
made no changes to the report.

9. Interior appears to generally agree with the information presented in the
report.

10. Because the tables in appendix I present the data sought by Interior,
we made no changes to the report. These tables, which precede the brief
descriptions of the state and federal land units, provide information on
their acreage, numbers of visitors, operating costs, and revenues
generated.




Page 53           GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
Appendix VII

Comments From New Mexico State Land
Office




               Page 54   GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
Appendix VII
Comments From New Mexico State Land
Office




Page 55          GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
Appendix VII
Comments From New Mexico State Land
Office




Page 56          GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
Appendix VIII

Major Contributors to This Report


                     Lloyd L. Adams
Energy, Resources,   Alfred T. Brown, Jr.
and Science Staff    Paul O. Grace
                     James R. Hunt
                     Casandra Joseph
                     Sherry L. McDonald
                     Victor S. Rezendes




(140113)             Page 57         GAO/RCED-97-158 Comparison of Selected State and Federal Land Units
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