Is the BLM busy buying / acquiring private lands in Colorado and other western states and how is this possible with a federal deficit of $34 Trillion dollars?  Just do some googling and you will find the BLM is busy acquiring private lands in Colorado and in other states.  

This article is a detailed review of the legal appeal filed regarding the 2023 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Buffalo Horn Land Exchange in Rio Blanco and Moffat Counties, Colorado.    Please keep in mind this appeal is not filed in a courthouse, it is an appeal that is reviewed by the BLM itself, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to police yourself?  In this case the BLM was acquiring more private lands in Colorado by “swapping” lands with a private seller.  Here are the details of this BLM land swap and the details of the initial appeal filed (links are in blue). This appeal will show the federal agency’s overreach and an uneducated BLM assumption that they have automatic consent to acquire vast amounts of vacant lands in Colorado without the consent of Colorado Legislature or County Commissioners.  Please keep in mind this has been going on for years and no one in Colorado (County Commissioners or State legislatures) have done anything to define the legal conundrum of “what if the county/state don’t want to sell all/some of their land to the federal government????

One must recognize that when the federal government acquires (buys or swaps) private lands in Colorado, those lands are no longer controlled by the state.   Those newly acquired federal lands that were once private lands controlled by a sovereign state, are now controlled by Congress and the often overreaching federal bureaucratic agencies that get to write their own rules/laws and print them in the Code of Federal Regulations at will.  Are all federal lands a federal enclave?  Yes, they have essentially, all become federal enclaves.  Read these two articles (BLM #1 and USFS #2) to see how our federal lands became unconstitutional federal enclaves without the constitutionally required cessions of jurisdiction by the states (consent).  This website will teach you all you need to know about jurisdiction on federal lands if you wish to become educated on the matter.   

Does the federal government have to follow Colorado law when acquiring private lands?  The answer is yes, the federal government holds no legislative jurisdiction over Colorado’s private lands.  

Can the federal government buy private lands in Colorado?  Yes, with the consent of the County Commissioners and if necessary the state legislature. The only exception to this would be if they needed a piece of property for critical infrastructure such as courts, jails, forts, post offices, interstates, etc. 

The foundation of this argument is that the BLM is ignoring state law, specifically Colorado Revised Statute (CRS) 3-1-102 when acquiring large tracks of private lands in Colorado.  A review of this law shows that since these large tracts of private lands (hundreds/thousands of acres or vacant land that will be used for recreational purposes only) are not used for critical federal government infrastructure such as buildings, forts, courthouses, interstates, etc., the consent of the state is required for such transfers of ownership.  Here is the state law:

CRS 3-1-102. Consent to acquire land – when notice required – directive to the attorney general  (1) Except as provided in this section, the consent of the state of Colorado is hereby given [automatic consent], in accordance with section 8 (17) of Article I of the Constitution of the United States, to the acquisition by the United States, by purchase, condemnation, or otherwise, of any land in the state required for custom houses, courthouses, post offices, arsenals, or other buildings whatever, or for any other proper purpose of the United States government; …. However, before any privately owned land in the state is acquired for any purpose other than for public highways, custom houses, courthouses, post offices, arsenals, or other governmental buildings, the United States shall give written notice of intention to acquire the land to the board of county commissioners of the county wherein the land is situated and to the division of property taxation, which notice shall be given at least sixty days prior to the date of the intended acquisition. If the notice is not given or if the board of county commissioners or the division files with the secretary of state of the state of Colorado within the sixty-day period a request that the acquisition be considered by the general assembly of the state of Colorado, then the consent of the state of Colorado shall not be deemed to have been given to the acquisition unless and until the general assembly of the state of Colorado shall have by law specifically consented thereto.

Would state consent likely be given in most circumstances?  My guess is yes, for small private land transfers that enhance public access,  but what happens if the state or county commissioners object to the BLM buying, lets say, a 20,000 acre ranch?   This is an area equal in size to the Colorado National Monument.  Currently, according the BLM, the state and the county have no way of unilaterally stopping any vacant land or large land acquisition by the BLM.  Colorado and its County Commissioners can only protest a BLM land acquisition by working within the BLM controlled protest process (which surely is not bias in favor of the BLM).  So, the State of Colorado has no authority over the sale of private lands within its sovereign borders and lacks the ability to control who buys private lands that are currently under Colorado jurisdiction?  The federal government holds no level of legislative jurisdiction over private land in Colorado.  Generally, in order for the President to federalize the Colorado National Guard for a civil action, the Governor would have to cede that authority (give permission) to the President.  We saw this in the 2020 riots, President Trump waited for permission from the Governor’s to bring in the national guard.  We have also heard recent concerns like this over foreign entities buying farm lands in the USA and we must recognize that when the BLM/USFS acquires Colorado private lands those lands are no longer county taxable land, controlled by Colorado.  Colorado must be able to regulate private land sales/transfers of ownership to preserve and defend its state sovereignty and integrity, it would be unconstitutional to declare otherwise.   

The BLM claims automatic consent in the details of the Buffalo Horn Land Exchange Answer to Appeal.

“C.R.S. 3-1-102 specifically, and importantly, provides in relevant part that “[e]xcept as provided in this section, the consent of the state of Colorado is hereby given, in accordance with section 8 (17) of article I of the constitution of the United States, to the acquisition by the United States, by purchase, condemnation, or otherwise, of any land in the state required for custom houses, courthouses, post offices, arsenals, or other buildings whatever, or for any other proper purpose of the United States government.” Emphasis added.”

Which means the BLM can claim automatic consent in any private land acquisition in Colorado regardless of intended use.  This is contrary to CRS 3-1-102 which specifically gives the County Commissioner and State Legislature a path to stop the federal government from acquiring private lands. 

Furthermore, this is all being done under a state statute that was meant only for procuring exclusive jurisdiction federal enclaves such as Rocky Mountain National Park, under CRS Title 3 – Property Ceded to the United States.  If you read CRS 3-1-101, CRS 3-1-102 and CRS 3-1-103 in its entirety (below), you will see these Colorado laws all written within CRS Title 3, are meant to procure exclusive jurisdiction federal enclaves over federal infrastructure within the state (where only the federal government can enforce laws and the state has no authority).  More importantly, as defined within these three state laws, the automatic consent/cession of exclusive jurisdiction is only intended for critical infrastructure needed by the federal government to conduct business, it is not for vacant recreational land transfers like we see in all BLM land acquisitions.

CRS 3-1-101– Consent to acquisition of lands by the United States- The consent of this state is hereby given to the purchase by the United States of such ground in the city of Denver, or any other city or incorporated town in this state, as its authorities may select, for the accommodation of the United States circuit and district courts, post offices, land offices, mints, or other government offices in said cities or incorporated towns, and also to the purchase by the United States of such other lands within this state as its authorities may from time to time select for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, and other needful buildings.

CRS 3-1-102 – Consent to acquire land – when notice required –  see definition above

CRS 3-1-103 Jurisdiction of United States over land – Exclusive jurisdiction in and over any land so acquired by the United States shall be and the same is hereby ceded to the United States for all purposes….   

As you see in the linked “Answer to Appeal”, the BLM claims CRS 3-1-102 gives them automatic consent, so does this mean all private lands acquired by the BLM under CRS 3-1-102  are exclusive jurisdiction federal enclaves as intended? 


Two Problems with the BLM using CRS 3-1-102 to Claim Automatic Consent

1. CRS 3-1-102 is not intended for rural vacant land acquisitions.  Its meant for federal infrastructure within a city. See CRS 3-1-101 as adjoined. 

2. All of CRS Title 3 and CRS 3-1-102 form exclusive jurisdiction federal enclaves, clearly not the intent of vast tracts of recreational BLM lands that are all held in a proprietorial interest only in Colorado.  You can find the definition of proprietorial interest only, within


Another consideration is the BLM is misreading CRS 3-1-102 and conveniently ignoring the parts of the law highlighted above.  “However, before any privately owned land in the state is acquired for any purpose other than for public highways, custom houses, courthouses, post offices, arsenals, or other governmental buildings” That implies vacant recreational lands qualify as “other than” exceptions that don’t apply.    Its very apparent the BLM has not taken into consideration CRS 3-1-101 (city acquisitions only) and CRS Title 3 as a whole.  

This Updated Petition and Request for Stay was submitted after the Answer and was ultimately ignored.  The BLM ultimately ruled to reject the appeal because of “lack of standing” since the person had not visited the public lands in questions- what?  They did not reject based on merit or material fact.  Here is the BLM’s Final Answer.  You have to have visited the federal lands in question in order to legally challenge the BLM’s ignorance or illegal overreach.  Name removed from quote below. 

“We have held that an appellant challenging a BLM decision denying a protest of a land exchange had standing because they used the Federal lands at issue.34 In his protest and filings with this Board, XXXXXXX does not allege that he uses the Federal lands or private lands at issue. Instead, XXXXXXX merely alleges that BLM violated various State and Federal laws, including Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the United States Constitution (the Enclave Clause) in approving the land exchange.35 But XXXXXXX general concern that BLM may have violated certain laws in approving the exchange is not a legally cognizable interest,36 and, without a legally cognizable interest, XXXXXXX lacks standing to appeal.37”

Colorado desperately needs a new state law outside of CRS Title 3  (which is intended for procuring federal enclaves) to help define this federal land acquisition process and protect the states sovereignty.   At some point the federal government is going to try and buy too much of a Colorado County and the integrity of the state will be in question.  the idea that Colorado has petition a federal agency to preserve private lands within its sovereign boundaries is absurd.  Colorado should also clarify if the lands acquired by the BLM with “automatic consent” as claimed by the BLM under CRS Title 3 are an exclusive jurisdiction federal enclave, since that is the intent of those laws.  Additionally, since 1940 when Congress passed 40 USC 3112, it now requires recorded acceptance of a state cession of jurisdiction.   The BLM generally uses the Property Clause to push its agenda, but there is only one way to form a federal enclave and that is under the Enclave Clause of the Constitution.  The CRS Title 3 laws are clear that if automatic consent is given, it procures an exclusive jurisdiction federal enclave. 

Experience over the past 11 years shows few elected representatives understand jurisdiction on federal lands within the state and its the foundational mission of this website to educate those elected officials to prevent federal overreach and protect the rule of law and the constitutional integrity of our states with federal lands.