TAYLOR GRAZING ACT
43 U.S.C. §§ 315-316o, June 28, 1934, as amended 1936,
1938, 1939, 1942, 1947, 1948, 1954 and 1976.
Overview. This Act was the first federal effort to regulate
grazing on federal public lands. It establishes grazing districts and uses
a permitting system to manage livestock grazing in the districts.
Grazing Districts. The Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) is
authorized to establish grazing districts of vacant, unappropriated and
unreserved land from any parts of the public domain, excluding Alaska,
which are not national forests, parks and monuments, Indian reservations,
railroad grant lands, or revested Coos Bay Wagon Road grant lands, and
which are valuable chiefly for grazing and raising forage crops. Whenever
grazing districts are established, the Secretary shall grant adjacent
landowners, upon application, rights-of-way over the lands for
stock-driving purposes to provide access to marketing facilities or to
lands not within the district but owned by the person with stock-grazing
As adopted in 1934, the Act requires that a hearing be held in the
state before grazing districts are created. There must be public notice
and the location is to be convenient for state officials, settlers,
residents and livestock owners of the vicinity. The publication of notice
has the effect of withdrawing the lands within the exterior boundary of
the proposed district from all forms of entry of settlement pending the
hearing. The Act does not alter or restrict the right to hunt or fish
within a grazing district. § 315.
The Secretary must: provide for the protection, administration,
regulation and improvement of the grazing districts; adopt regulations and
enter into cooperative agreements necessary to accomplish the purposes of
the Act; regulate occupancy and use; preserve the land and resources from
destruction or unnecessary injury; provide for orderly improvement and
development of the range. The Secretary may continue the study of erosion
and flood control and perform work to protect and rehabilitate areas
subject to the Act. Willful violations of the Act, or of its rules and
regulations, are punishable by fine. § 315a.
Grazing Permits. The Secretary is authorized to issue permits to
graze livestock in grazing districts to settlers, residents and other
stock owners upon the annual payment of reasonable fees. Permits must be
for a period of not more than ten years, with renewal subject to the
discretion of the Secretary, who shall specify numbers of stock and
seasons of use. During periods of range depletion due to severe drought or
other natural causes, or during epidemics, the Secretary may remit,
reduce, refund in whole or part, or postpone payment of grazing fees for
the time the emergency exists. Grazing privileges must be safeguarded
adequately but must not create any right, title, interest, or estate in or
to the lands. § 315b.
Fences, wells, reservoirs and other improvements for the care and
management of permitted livestock may be constructed on public lands
within grazing districts under permits issued, or cooperative agreements
approved, by the Secretary. Permittees are to comply with state law with
respect to the cost and maintenance of partition fences. No permit
entitles the permittee to use improvements constructed and owned by a
prior occupant until the applicant has paid the prior occupant the
reasonable value of the improvements, as determined under the Secretary's
regulations. § 315c.
Use of District Lands. The Secretary must permit free grazing of
domestic livestock within districts. Nothing in the Act is intended to
prevent the use of timber, stone, gravel, clay, coal and other deposits by
miners, prospectors, settlers and residents. Further, the Act must not
restrict: the acquisition, granting or use of permits or rights-of-way
within grazing districts under laws existing before the adoption of the
Act; ingress or egress over public lands in these districts; prospecting,
locating, developing, mining, entering, leasing or patenting mineral
resources of grazing districts under applicable law. § 315d and 315e.
The Secretary is authorized to identify lands which are more valuable
or suitable for the production of agricultural crops than for the
production of native grasses and forage plants, or more valuable for other
uses, and to open these lands to entry, selection or location for
disposal, except that tracts for homestead entries may not exceed 320
acres in area. § 315f.
The Act directs the Secretary to promote cooperation among those
interested in the use of the grazing districts, such as local associations
of stockmen, state land officials and official state agencies engaged in
the conservation or propagation of wildlife. The Secretary also must
provide for local hearings on appeals from decisions of the administrative
officer, and may accept contributions toward the administration,
protection and improvement of lands within a grazing district. § 315h.
Use of Funds Received. Money received under the Act shall be
deposited in the U.S. Treasury as miscellaneous receipts, except that 12
1/2 percent of the money collected from grazing fees shall be paid to the
state in which the grazing district is located and 50 percent of the money
collected for the leasing of isolated tracts under § 315m will be paid to
the state in which the leased lands are located. The states' legislatures
are expected to spend the funds for the benefit of the counties in which
the districts or leased lands are situated. In addition, when appropriated
by Congress, 33 1/3 percent of grazing fees received from grazing
districts on Indian lands ceded to the U.S. for disposition under the
public land laws are to be paid to the state, to be expended by the state
legislature for public schools and roads in the counties in which the
grazing lands are located. The other 66 2/3 percent is to be deposited to
the credit of the Indians pending final disposition under applicable laws,
treaties or agreements. §315i and 315j.
Leasing. The Secretary is authorized to lease for grazing
purposes vacant, unappropriated and unreserved lands which are so situated
as not to justify inclusion in grazing districts. Preference must be given
to owners, homesteaders, lessees or other lawful occupants of contiguous
land to permit proper use. When public lands are restored from a
withdrawal, the Secretary may grant a preference right for a grazing
lease, license or permit to users of the land for grazing purposes. §
The Secretary may lease, and determine lease rates for, state, county,
or private lands valuable for grazing and lying within the exterior
boundaries of a grazing district, where the leasing will promote the
orderly use of the district and aid in conserving the forage resources. No
lease shall run for more than ten years, and grazing fees paid to the U.S.
for grazing privileges on the land shall not be less than the rental paid
by the U.S. for the land. § 315m-1.
Agency Cooperation. The Secretary is authorized to cooperate
with other federal agencies to carry out the purposes of the Act and
coordinate range administration, particularly where stock grazes part time
in a grazing district and part time in a national forest or other
reservation. § 315k.
The President may reserve by proclamation and place under
national-forest administration unappropriated public lands lying within
watersheds forming a part of the national forests which are best
administered with the national forests. Similarly, the President can place
under Interior Department administration those national forest lands which
are principally valuable for grazing and best administered under this Act.
Nothing in the Act shall be construed as restricting the states from
enforcing statutes enacted for police regulation, and state laws regarding
public health or welfare remain in full force and effect. § 315n.
TAYLOR GRAZING ACT [CITE: 43USC315]
TITLE 43--PUBLIC LANDS
CHAPTER 8A--GRAZING LANDS
Sec. 315. Grazing districts; establishment; restrictions; prior rights;
rights-of-way; hearing and notice; hunting or fishing rights
In order to promote the highest use of the public lands
pending its final disposal, the Secretary of the Interior is authorized,
in his discretion, by order to establish grazing districts or additions
thereto and/or to modify the boundaries thereof, of vacant, unappropriated,
and unreserved lands from any part of the public domain of the United
States (exclusive of Alaska), which are not in national forests, national
parks and monuments, Indian reservations, revested Oregon and California
Railroad grant lands, or revested Coos Bay Wagon Road grant lands, and
which in his opinion are chiefly valuable for grazing and raising forage
crops: Provided, That no lands withdrawn or reserved for any other purpose
shall be included in any such district except with the approval of the
head of the department having jurisdiction thereof. Nothing in this
subchapter shall be construed in any way to diminish, restrict, or impair
any right which has been heretofore or may be hereafter initiated under
existing law validly affecting the public lands, and which is maintained
pursuant to such law except as otherwise expressly provided in this
subchapter nor to affect any land heretofore or hereafter surveyed which,
except for the provisions of this subchapter, would be a part of any grant
to any State, nor as limiting or restricting the power or authority of any
State as to matters within its jurisdiction. Whenever any grazing district
is established pursuant to this subchapter, the Secretary shall grant to
owners of land adjacent to such district, upon application of any such
owner, such rights-of-way over the lands included in such district for
stock-driving purposes as may be necessary for the convenient access by
any such owner to marketing facilities or to lands not within such
district owned by such person or upon which such person has stock-grazing
rights. Neither this subchapter nor the Act of December 29, 1916 (39 Stat.
862; U.S.C., title 43, secs. 291 and following), commonly known as the
``Stock Raising Homestead Act'', shall be construed as limiting the
authority or policy of Congress or the President to include in national
forests public lands of the character described in section 471 \1\ of
title 16, for the purposes set forth in section 475 of title 16, or such
other purposes as Congress may specify. Before grazing districts are
created in any State as herein provided, a hearing shall be held in the
State, after public notice thereof shall have been given, at such location
convenient for the
attendance of State officials, and the settlers, residents, and livestock
owners of the vicinity, as may be determined by the Secretary of the
Interior. No such district shall be established until the expiration of
ninety days after such notice shall have been given, nor until twenty days
after such hearing shall be held: Provided, however, That the publication
of such notice shall have the effect of withdrawing all public lands
within the exterior boundary of such proposed grazing districts from all
forms of entry of settlement. Nothing in this subchapter shall be
construed as in any way altering or restricting the right to hunt or fish
within a grazing district in accordance with the laws of the United States
or of any State, or as vesting in any
permittee any right whatsoever to interfere with hunting or fishing within
a grazing district.
\1\ See References in Text note below.
(June 28, 1934, ch. 865, Sec. 1, 48 Stat. 1269; June 26, 1936, ch. 842,
title I, Sec. 1, 49 Stat. 1976; May 28, 1954, ch. 243, Sec. 2, 68 Stat.
References in Text
The Stock Raising Homestead Act, referred to in text, is act
Dec. 29, 1916, ch. 9, 39 Stat. 862, as amended, which was classified
generally to subchapter X (Sec. 291 et seq.) of chapter 7 of this title
and was repealed by Pub. L. 94-579, title VII, Secs. 702, 704(a), Oct.
21, 1976, 90 Stat. 2787, 2792, except for sections 9 and 11 which are
classified to sections 299 and 301, respectively, of this title. For
complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set
out under section 291 of this title and Tables.
Section 471 of title 16, referred to in text, was repealed by
Pub. L. 94-579, title VII, Sec. 704(a), Oct. 21, 1976, 90 Stat. 2792.
1954--Act May 28, 1954, struck out of first sentence
provision limiting to one hundred and forty-two million acres the area
be included in grazing districts.
1936--Act June 26, 1936, increased acreage which could be
included in grazing districts from 80 million to 142 million acres.
Act June 28, 1934, which enacted this subchapter, is
popularly known as the "Taylor Grazing Act''.