Congressional Research Service


Date of this Version



Published by Congressional Review Service,, RS21967


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) typically completes dozens of exchanges a year to acquire and dispose of land. The land exchange process generally has five phases: development of an exchange proposal, feasibility evaluation, processing and documentation (including appraisal), decision analysis and approval, and title transfer. Land exchanges have been controversial periodically, with concerns regarding the benefits to the public, determinations of market value, and contradictions in policies and procedures. In response, BLM has implemented changes to the appraisal and exchange processes. There remains a difference of opinion on the usefulness of land exchanges.