Audrey Bell

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In this paper, I will discuss how Washington state’s trust duties related to federally-granted public lands management have and have not been reconciled with article XVI, section 1 of the Washington constitution. First, I will provide a foundation for the management of federally-granted public lands and the storied history of Congress's intent in providing land grants to the states. Next, I will examine the provisions of the Enabling Act of 1889 ("Enabling Act") and the Washington constitution that govern the management of those granted lands. Third, I will chart the historical treatment of Washington state trust duties related to the federally-granted public lands. Finally, I will argue that neither Congress nor Washington state constitutional framers intended to restrict federally-granted public lands management to provide revenue for common schools at the expense of clear state constitutional goals. The paper will give specific consideration of the Washington Supreme Court’s recent opinion in Conservation Northwest v. Hilary Franz.