24.01 24.01 Definitions and classification. In chs. 23 to 29, unless the context requires otherwise or unless otherwise defined:
24.01(1) (1) "Agricultural college lands" embraces all lands granted to the state by an act of congress entitled "An act donating public lands to the several states and territories which may provide colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts," approved July 2, 1862.
24.01(2) (2) "Board" means the board of commissioners of public lands.
24.01(3) (3) "Department" means department of natural resources.
24.01(4) (4) "Marathon county lands" embraces all lands acquired by the state pursuant to chapter 22 of the general laws of 1867.
24.01(5) (5) "Normal school lands" embraces all parcels of said "swamp lands" which the legislature has declared or otherwise decided, or may hereafter declare or otherwise decide, were not or are not needed for the drainage or reclamation of the same or other lands.
24.01(6) (6) "Public lands" embraces all lands and all interests in lands owned by the state either as proprietor or as trustee which constitute any part of the lands defined or specified in this section.
24.01(7) (7) "School lands" embraces all lands made a part of "the school fund" by article X, section 2, of the constitution.
24.01(8) (8) "Secretary" means secretary of natural resources.
24.01(9) (9) "Swamp lands" embraces all lands which have been or may be transferred to the state pursuant to an act of congress entitled "An act to enable the state of Arkansas and other states to reclaim the swamp lands within their limits," approved September 28, 1850, or pursuant to an act of congress entitled "An act for the relief of purchasers and locators of swamp and overflowed lands," approved March 2, 1855.
24.01(10) (10) "University lands" embraces all lands the proceeds of which are denominated "the university fund" by article X, section 6, of the constitution.
24.01(11) (11) "Warden" means conservation warden, and includes county, special and deputy conservation wardens.
24.01 History History: 1977 c. 9; 1981 c. 390; 1983 a. 189, 192; 1987 a. 119.
24.02 24.02 Addition to the public lands. Addition to any class of lands specified in s. 24.01, except lands purchased for forest reserve and Marathon county lands, may be effected by grant, conveyance or devise made as a donation to the state for the purpose of the fund to which such class belongs. But no such proffered donation shall be accepted until the title of the donor has been examined and approved by the attorney general.
24.03 24.03 Escheats. The board of commissioners of public lands shall, whenever it shall have reason to believe that any lands have escheated to the state for defect of heirs, cause due inquiry to be made to ascertain the rights of the state, and the attorney general shall bring any suit or action or take any requisite proceeding necessary to protect and secure the rights of the state. The board may either take possession of, or cause to be sued for and recovered as aforesaid when necessary, any real estate believed to have escheated to the state, or may proceed directly to sell all the right, title and interest of the state therein, without first obtaining possession thereof and without establishing title thereto by action.
24.04 24.04 Administrative receipts and disbursements.
24.04(1)(1)Receipts. The board shall collect from purchasers of land a fee of $5 for every certificate and $5 for every patent issued by it. The board shall pay the moneys collected, together with all moneys for expenses of advertising, damages and costs received either by redemption or resale of any public lands forfeited after being sold by the state, into the state treasury to the credit of the common school fund. The executive secretary of the board may take the acknowledgments of the board to all certificates and patents, and no fees may be charged therefor.
24.04(2) (2)Disbursements. All expenses necessarily incurred in caring for and selling public lands shall be deducted from the gross receipts of the fund to which the proceeds of the sale of the land will be added.
24.05 24.05 Survey of lands. Whenever it shall appear to the board necessary that surveys should be made in order to ascertain the true boundaries of any tract or portion of the public lands, or to enable it to describe and dispose of the same in suitable and convenient lots, it may cause all such necessary surveys to be made.
24.06 24.06 Plat of lands. The board may subdivide any parcel of public lands into smaller parcels or village lots, with streets and alleys if necessary, whenever it believes a larger net price can be obtained by selling the land in such smaller parcels or lots. A survey and plat of such subdivision, verified by its maker as true and correct, shall be returned and recorded in the office of the board, and the parcels or lots designated thereon shall be appraised before they are offered for sale. Such subdivision shall be ordered, the proceedings therefor governed and such appraisal made in substantial accord with s. 24.08.
24.07 24.07 Sale of land with water power. Whenever a water power exists upon any public lands offered for sale the board may sell together all the tracts or lots upon which such water power is situated and such other tracts or lots as are necessary for the use and enjoyment of the same, not exceeding 160 acres, or it may sell each tract or lot separately, as in its opinion the larger proceeds may be derived from such sale.
24.08 24.08 Minimum price.
24.08(1)(1)Lands appraised. Every parcel of public land that was never appraised, every parcel of public land forfeited to the state under s. 24.28 and every parcel of land mortgaged to secure any loan of trust funds and bid in by the state at a sale of that land under the mortgage shall be appraised under this section before it is offered or reoffered for sale at public auction, at private sale or exchanged for other lands. These lands may be reappraised whenever necessary.
24.08(2) (2)Appraiser. The board may make and enter in its minutes an order that any parcel or parcels of the public lands be appraised, describing the lands, appointing an appraiser and stating the reasons why the appraisal is deemed necessary. So far as practical the appraiser shall be a person in the employ of the board, of good character, approved integrity, sound judgment and well acquainted with the public lands; but the board may employ under contract any competent appraiser if it deems it necessary.
24.08(3) (3)Appraisal. The appraisal shall be made from actual view and at cash value. It shall be in writing and be verified by the affidavit of the appraiser who shall testify that the appraisal is just and was made as required by law. The appraisal shall be filed with the executive secretary of the board and recorded.
24.08(4) (4)Appraised value, minimum price, government minimum. Such appraised value shall be the minimum price of the land until sold or reappraised. Until an appraisal under this section, the appraisal last heretofore made of any parcel of public land, if any has been made, shall fix the minimum price thereof. Notwithstanding this section no parcel of public land having a minimum price for the sale thereof fixed by the act of congress granting the same to the state, shall be sold for a lesser price than that so fixed.
24.08 History History: 1973 c. 90; 1983 a. 423; 1993 a. 16.
24.09 24.09 Procedure before sale or exchange; withdrawal; resale.
24.09(1)(a)(a) Except as provided under par. (c), the board may not sell or exchange any public lands which were not appraised or appraised under s. 24.08. Except as provided under pars. (b), (bm) and (c), the board may not sell or exchange any public lands except at public auction.
24.09(1)(b) (b) Lands required for federal, state, county, city, village, town or school district use may be sold at the appraised value to or exchanged for land of approximately equivalent value with the federal government, other state departments, boards or commissions, counties, cities, villages, towns or school districts.
24.09(1)(bm) (bm) The board may exchange part or all of any parcel of public lands for any other land of approximately equal value if the board determines that the exchange will contribute to the consolidation or completion of a block of land, enhance conservation of lands or otherwise be in the public interest.
24.09(1)(c) (c) Lands located within the federally recognized exterior boundaries of Indian reservations or located adjacent to the federally recognized boundaries of Indian reservations may be sold to or exchanged with the Indian tribe or tribes located on those reservations or sold to or exchanged with the federal government for the benefit and use of such tribe or tribes upon prices, terms and conditions agreeable to the board and without being subject to the restrictions and procedure otherwise provided by law for the sale of public lands.
24.09(1)(d) (d) All sales other than sales under par. (b) or (c) shall be made at the times and public places the board designates. Prior to any sale, the board shall publish a class 3 notice, under ch. 985, specifying the time and place and describing the lands to be sold in a newspaper published in the county where the lands are situated.
24.09(2) (2) The board may, whenever it believes the public interest will be served thereby, withdraw and withhold from sale all or such portions of the public lands as in its opinion it may not be advantageous to sell, for so long a time as in its opinion will be most beneficial to the state; but when reoffered the lands so withdrawn shall first be offered at public sale in the manner prescribed by law.
24.09 History History: 1983 a. 423; 1987 a. 76.
24.10 24.10 Procedure at sale. At the time and place specified in such notice the board shall commence the sale and thereafter continue the same from day to day (Sundays excepted) between 9 a.m. and the setting of the sun, until all lands described in said notice have been offered. The order of such sale shall be to begin at the lowest number of the sections, townships and ranges in each county and proceed regularly to the highest, until all then to be sold are offered for sale. Each lot or tract of such lands shall, except such as may be withheld as provided in s. 24.09, be offered separately at the minimum price fixed by law, and shall be cried at public auction long enough to enable every one present to bid; and if the minimum price or more be bid, such lot or tract shall be struck off to the highest bidder; but if such price be not bid the tract shall be set down unsold.
24.11 24.11 Terms of sales.
24.11(1)(1)For cash or instalments.
24.11(1)(a)(a) Except as provided under sub. (4), public lands may be sold for cash to be paid at the time of the sale or according to the terms specified under par. (b).
24.11(1)(b) (b) The first payment shall be not less than 15% of the purchase price, and shall be made at the time of the sale together with interest on the deferred payments in advance to February 1 of the following year. However, the first payment may not be less than the value of the timber, if any, on the lands sold. Annual payments of principal and interest shall be made for a maximum of 20 years after the date of the sale, with interest on the principal at the rate of 7% per year, payable annually in advance on February 1 of each year.
24.11(2) (2)Purchaser to pay taxes. The board shall insert in every contract or certificate of sale of public land a clause providing that the vendee, the vendee's heirs, administrators or assigns shall pay or cause to be paid all taxes that are or that may be assessed against the land from and after the date of the said contract.
24.11(3) (3)Reservation. Every contract, certificate of sale, or grant hereunder of public lands shall reserve to the people the right of access to such lands and to any meandered or nonmeandered stream, river, pond or lake navigable in fact for any purpose whatsoever, bordered by such lands and all rights necessary to the full enjoyment of such waters, and of all minerals in said lands, and all mining rights therein, and shall also be subject to continued ownership by the state of all waterpower rights on such lands or in any manner appurtenant thereto. Such conveyance shall also be subject to a continuing easement in the state and its assigns to enter and occupy such lands in any manner necessary and convenient to the removal of such mineral from such lands and to the proper exercise of such mineral rights, and shall be further subject to the continuing easement in the state and its assigns to enter and occupy such lands in any manner necessary and convenient to the development, maintenance and use of any such water rights. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to provide for the continued ownership in the state of any stone used for building purposes nor of any sand or gravel.
24.11(4) (4)Special terms for escheated lands. Upon the sale of any escheated lands the entire purchase price shall be paid at the time of the sale; whereupon the board shall execute and deliver to the purchaser a quitclaim deed of conveyance which shall vest in the grantee all the right, title and interest of the state in or to the land, and every right of action which the state has respecting the same; but no covenant or warranty of title, or of continued enjoyment, or against encumbrances, shall be expressed in or implied from such deed or any words therein. If by virtue of a better title a recovery of such land be had by any other person or party within 20 years after such purchase, the state shall refund to the purchaser or the purchaser's assigns or legal representatives the amount paid by the purchaser for the land together with interest thereon at the rate of 6% per year from the date of the purchase until the date of recovery and also the amount of all taxes on the land actually paid by the purchaser with like interest on each payment from the time of payment to the date of the recovery.
24.11 History History: 1979 c. 110 s. 60 (13); 1983 a. 423; 1991 a. 316; 1995 a. 225.
24.11 Annotation State reservation of land and interests in lands under ch. 452, laws of 1911, 24.11 (3) and Art. X, sec. 8 discussed. 65 Atty. Gen. 207.
24.12 24.12 Forfeit for failure to pay. Every purchaser of any lot or tract at any sale as aforesaid shall pay the amount of the purchase money required by the terms of sale to be paid in hand immediately after having bid off the same; and if the purchaser shall refuse or neglect to so pay, the lot or tract so bid off by the purchaser shall again be offered for sale; and the purchaser shall, for such refusal or neglect to pay, forfeit $25 for each lot or tract so bid off by the purchaser, which the board shall, in the name of the state, cause to be immediately sued for and collected, and when collected paid into the school fund.
24.12 History History: 1991 a. 316.
24.14 24.14 Rights of swamp-land purchasers. Any person who has purchased from the United States or entered any of the lands patented to this state as swamp and overflowed lands, or lands patented in lieu of such lands, prior to the execution of such patents to this state, may whenever such entries have been canceled by the United States on account of conflict with the right and title of this state to such lands, purchase from this state, prior to the date fixed for the public sale thereof, such lands so purchased or entered from the United States, upon making satisfactory proof to the board that such person is the identical person, or the heir, legal representative or assign of the person, who purchased or entered such lands as aforesaid, and upon paying to this state for such lands the same price at which such purchase or entries were made from the United States; but nothing contained in this chapter shall impair the rights acquired by any person who has preempted any such lands under the laws of this state.
24.145 24.145 State-owned swamp lands; proceeds; disposition. It is declared that none of the swamp and overflowed lands heretofore granted to this state pursuant to an act of congress entitled "An Act to enable the state of Arkansas and other states to reclaim the swamp lands within their limits", approved September 28, 1850, and the proceeds derived from the sale thereof, which have not heretofore been actually applied for reclamation of such lands, are necessary for the purpose of reclaiming any such swamp and overflowed lands by construction of levees and drains or otherwise. All such swamp and overflowed lands and the proceeds derived from the sale thereof including those placed and being in the drainage fund pursuant to chapter 537, laws of 1865, which have not been actually applied for the purpose of reclaiming such lands, shall be and they are made a part of the normal school fund. This section shall be controlling over any inconsistent act or statute.
24.15 24.15 Private sale. All public lands, including forfeited lands and mortgaged lands bid in by the state, which shall have once been offered or reoffered at public sale and remain unsold, shall be subject to private sale at the minimum price fixed therefor by law to the person first making application therefor, if the person forthwith complies with the term of sale; but if 2 or more persons shall apply at the same time to purchase any of such lands the same shall be offered to the highest bidder, and the applicant who will pay the highest price shall be the purchaser.
24.15 History History: 1991 a. 316.
24.16 24.16 Applications for private sale. Every person making application for the purchase at private sale of any such lands shall file in the office of the board an application in writing, describing the lot or tract which the person proposes to purchase by the proper number of the section, township and range, and the subdivision of the section, with the person's name subscribed thereto. The board shall, if the land applied for may then be sold, enter on books kept for that purpose a note of such application, specifying the day when made, the name of the applicant, and the description of the land applied for, and shall also give to such applicant a memorandum, stating such application and describing the lot or tract applied for, and stating the price at which the same may be sold and the amount to be paid at the time of the sale, which memorandum shall be signed by the executive secretary of the board.
24.16 History History: 1991 a. 316; 1993 a. 16.
24.17 24.17 Receipt and certificate.
24.17(1) (1) When the purchaser of any such lands shall make payment to the treasurer of the amount required to be paid on such sale, and, in case of a private sale, shall also produce the memorandum mentioned in s. 24.16, the treasurer shall give a receipt therefor to such purchaser, and unless such sale be made wholly for cash the board shall execute and deliver to such person a duplicate certificate of sale, in which it shall certify:
24.17(1)(a) (a) The description of the land sold;
24.17(1)(b) (b) The sum paid and the amount remaining due thereon;
24.17(1)(c) (c) The times, place and terms of payments;
24.17(1)(d) (d) That if such payments shall be duly made the purchaser or the purchaser's assigns or other legal representatives shall be entitled to a patent for such land;
24.17(1)(e) (e) And that in case of the nonpayment into the state treasury of the purchase money as it shall become due, or of the interest thereon by the first day of February in each year or on or before the June 30th thereafter, or of any taxes lawfully assessed thereon and then remaining unpaid by the purchaser or purchasers or by any person claiming under the purchaser or purchasers, then that the said certificate from the time of such failure shall be utterly void and of no effect, and that the board may take possession of the land described in such certificate and resell the same.
24.17(2) (2) When the sale is wholly for cash, upon payment as above provided, the treasurer shall thereupon give to such purchaser a receipt stating the amount paid and giving a description of the lot or tract of land sold and that such purchaser is entitled to receive a patent according to law.
24.17 History History: 1991 a. 316.
24.18 24.18 Entry of sale and patent. When any sale is made the board shall make a note thereof in the book of entries, and shall enter therein the day of sale, the name of the purchaser, the number of the certificate or patent, the sum paid, the amount of purchase money unpaid, if any, and a description of the lot or tract sold. If such sale be made wholly for cash it shall thereupon execute and deliver to the purchaser a patent for such lot or tract of land so sold. If sold at public auction it shall note that fact.
24.19 24.19 Certificate of sale. All original and duplicate certificates shall be properly numbered, and the original shall be filed in the office of the board, and as many distinct lots or tracts of land hereafter purchased by one person in one section at the same time as that person shall request shall be included in one certificate or one patent, as the case may be. All certificates may be acknowledged and recorded in the same manner that deeds may be. They may also be assigned in writing, which assignment may be acknowledged and recorded in like manner, and the person to whom the same shall be legally assigned shall have the same rights and remedies thereupon as the original purchaser would have had.
24.19 History History: 1991 a. 316.
24.20 24.20 Payments and accounts. All money paid on account of sales of public lands shall be paid to the state treasurer who shall credit the proper fund therewith, crediting the general fund with the proceeds of sales of Marathon county lands, and the secretary of administration or the secretary's designee, upon countersigning the receipt given therefor, shall charge the treasurer therewith, and shall also enter the name of the person paying the same, the number of the certificate, if any, upon which the amount shall be paid and the time of the payment.
24.20 History History: 1991 a. 316.
24.21 24.21 Accounts with purchasers. The board shall open and keep an account with each purchaser for every lot or tract of land that shall be sold, either at public or private sale, in books kept for that purpose, in which it shall charge the purchaser with the whole purchase money and give the purchaser credit for all the purchaser's payments, making proper charges for interest as the same shall become due, and for all taxes returned to it as unpaid by the proper officer; and upon all payments being completed and the patent issued the account shall be balanced.
24.21 History History: 1991 a. 316.
24.22 24.22 Excessive payments to be refunded. Whenever full payment of the principal due upon any certificate of sale by the state shall be made subsequent to the payment of the annual interest thereon, the excess of the interest so paid shall be refunded to the person entitled thereto from the proper fund, on the warrant of the department of administration; and in case of the double or erroneous payment of interest, charges or taxes on any certificate of sale or loan by the state the amount so erroneously paid shall be in like manner refunded.
24.23 24.23 Title; patents. The title and fee of all public lands shall remain in the state until patents shall issue for the same; and no such patent shall issue except upon full payment of the purchase money and interest and all taxes returned and lawful charges thereon.
24.24 24.24 Effect of certificate.
24.24(1) (1) The certificate of sale, issued pursuant to s. 24.17, until the same becomes void by forfeiture under s. 24.28, shall entitle the purchaser, the purchaser's heirs or assigns, to all the rents, benefits and provisions of any lease existing thereon at the time of such purchase and thereafter accruing, and shall be sufficient evidence of title, and shall vest in the purchaser, the purchaser's heirs and assigns, the same rights of possession, enjoyment, descent, transmission and alienation of the lands therein described, and the same remedies for the protection of said rights, as against all persons except the state, that the purchaser would possess if the purchaser were the owner thereof in fee.
24.24(2) (2) No such certificate shall confer the right to cut down, destroy or dig up or carry off any standing wood or timber, or any mineral, without the written consent of said board, except that such wood or timber may be cut when to be used, and it shall be exclusively used, in the erection of fences or buildings on such lands, or for necessary firewood for the household use of the persons actually occupying the same, or when done in good faith for the actual and fair improvement of such land for cultivation.
24.24(3) (3) But no such cutting shall be deemed to have been done for the purposes of cultivation unless the entire surface from which such wood and timber is cut shall have been at the time further prepared therefor by thoroughly clearing it of all brush and growing wood of every kind thereon, except that shade or ornamental trees on not more than 10 adjoining acres selected for building purposes, and trees valuable for saw or rail timber, not to exceed 20 upon each acre, may be left standing. Any wood, timber or mineral otherwise cut, dug out or removed from any such land shall be and remain the property of the state.
24.24 History History: 1991 a. 316.
24.25 24.25 Patent and record thereof. Whenever full payment shall have been made for any such lands as required by law, and the purchaser or the purchaser's legal representatives shall produce to the board the duplicate certificate of sale, with the receipt of the state treasurer indorsed thereon, showing that the whole amount of the principal and interest due thereon has been paid and that the holder of such certificate is entitled to a patent for the lands described therein, the original and duplicate certificates shall be canceled, and the board shall thereupon execute and deliver a patent to the person entitled thereto for the land described in such certificate. All patents issued by the board shall be recorded in its office; and the record of patents heretofore issued by it is hereby declared a legal record. Purchasers may, at any time before due, pay any part or the whole of such purchase money and the interest thereon. In all cases where patents have been or may hereafter be issued to a person who may have died or who shall die before the date thereof, the title to the land described therein shall inure to and become vested in the heirs, devisees or assignees of such person to the same extent as if the patent had issued to that person during that person's lifetime.
24.25 History History: 1991 a. 316.
24.251 24.251 Patents, issuance; county may record. Whenever it shall appear to the board of commissioners of public lands that all the conditions relating to the issuance of patents have been complied with, the board may issue patents, and the county board of any county may cause such patents to be recorded in the county and pay the cost of such recording.
24.26 24.26 Patentee's rights. Except as provided otherwise by s. 24.11 any person, the person's heirs or assigns, who shall receive a patent pursuant to law for any public lands shall thereby acquire the right to all timber, lumber, trees, wood, bark, stone, earth, and other materials cut, dug, taken or removed therefrom before the issue of such patent, unless the same shall have been cut, dug, taken or removed by the assent of said board or sold by the state, and may maintain any proper action for the recovery thereof, or for any injury done to or trespass committed upon said lands before such patent shall have been issued, in the same manner and with the like effect, and the person shall be entitled to like damages as if such injury or trespass had been committed after the patent had issued.
24.26 History History: 1991 a. 316.
24.27 24.27 Purchase money a loan. The purchaser of public lands, when the balance of the purchase money becomes due, may retain the same as a loan from year to year on payment annually in advance, or on or before May 31, of the interest on the sum due, at the rate of interest specified in the certificate of sale, and the taxes annually assessed on the land described in the certificate, until required to pay the whole or part by the board or until the legislature shall otherwise direct.
24.27 History History: 1981 c. 169; 1983 a. 423.
24.28 24.28 Forfeiture. In the case of the nonpayment of interest when due according to the terms of the certificate of sale, or of any taxes which before said annual interest is paid shall have been returned to the board of commissioners of public lands by the county treasurer as due and unpaid upon such land, or of the principal when required by the board, such certificate shall become void from the time of such failure, and the purchaser, the purchaser's heirs and assigns, shall forfeit all right and interest in the lands described in such certificate; and the board may take immediate possession thereof and may resell the same as hereinafter provided.
24.28 History History: 1991 a. 316.
24.29 24.29 Redemption. At any time before the 5 days next preceding the reoffering of such land at public sale, the former purchaser or the former purchaser's assigns or legal representatives may, by the payment of the sum due with interest, and all taxes returned thereon to the state treasurer which are still unpaid, and all costs occasioned by the delay, together with 3% damages on the whole sum owing for such land, prevent such resale and revive the original contract.
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