Survey: Montanans heavily favor returning federal-held lands to state, tribes

Survey: Montanans heavily favor returning federal-held lands to state, tribes
Bighorn Canyon, Montana. (Image: National Park Service)

A recent survey conducted by the University of Montana and Stanford University found that a clear majority of Montana residents now support transferring some public lands, which are controlled by the federal government, to the state. The poll shows that local control is favored by 59 percent of those surveyed. …

Those surveyed indicated that a majority of Montanans believe “[t]he federal government owns too much land in Montana and should transfer some of it to the state.” Small town residents are most supportive of transferring public lands to state control, at 63 percent. Rural residents support the transfer by 59 percent, and urban residents, still a majority, are at 55 percent support. …

Montana’s largest minority group is composed of individuals belonging to various Native American Tribes. This survey indicates a strong preference, 78 percent, for giving those tribes the freedom to repurchase “ancestral lands that the tribes no longer own, for development and recreation.”

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