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Current Aspects of Multiple Use of Public Lands

Robert T. Patton, Proceedings of 4th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1958)

You will note from the outline that I have referred to this paper as relating to the multiple use of public lands as an applied principle of public lands administration. I use these words for the reason that it is a simple enough matter to privately or legislatively announce the principle that two or more parties may utilize the same piece of land for different uses under separate and distinct grants or privileges. It is quite another matter, however, to get around to giving legal effect to the principle so as to avoid conflicts and litigation. Perhaps in the past this has arisen in large part from the fact that actual conflicts between uses on the ground may not for many years have occurred to a sufficient degree or have involved wide enough segments of our people and our industry to have produced a demand for implementing legislation.

As an example of the fairly long recognition of the principle of multiple use, let me refer you to some of the [522] federal statutes providing for public land grants and land rights in which oil and gas, and other minerals, have been reserved to the government, and I shall merely cite a few for purposes of illustration:

The Idaho Land Selection Act of 1913,1 which allowed the State of Idaho to make certain selections of lands formerly withdrawn and classified as phosphate or oil lands, but with the reservation to the United S