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An inholding is privately owned land inside the boundary of a national park, national forest, state park, or similar publicly owned, protected area. Inholdings result from private ownership of lands prior to the designation of the protected park or forest area, which then end up grandfathered within the legally designated boundary.

In the United States, the main causes of inholdings are checkerboarding due to railroad land grants under the Pacific Railway Acts beginning in 1862, homestead claims under the 1862 Homestead Act, and mining claims patented under the General Mining Act of 1872, along with the more recent Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. The railroad checkerboarding primarily affects national forests, while inholdings due to the other types of claims occur frequently within national parks and national forests throughout the western United States. Over the last several decades, conservation groups have lobbied the United States Congress to acquire inholdings especially within designated wilderness areas, either by direct purchase or via land exchange which trades the inholding for other federal lands located outside of national parks or wilderness areas.[1][dead link]

Rights and regulations[edit]

Generally, owners of inholdings are allowed to use their properties in a manner similar to other private property owners in their state. However, they may be subject to additional federal and agency-specific regulations regarding land use and management.

Under the Wilderness Act, the public agencies have an obligation to allow property owners "adequate access" should their property lie in a designated wilderness area. As such many public agencies have allowed limited use roads to be built in wilderness areas. Under the Eastern Wilderness Act, public agencies are allowed to seize wilderness inholdings if the owner of the inholding manages his land in a manner "incompatible with management of such area as wilderness".[2]


Tanner, Randy (December 2002). "Inholdings within Wilderness" (PDF). International Journal of Wilderness 8 (3): 9–14. Retrieved 2007-02-22. 

External links[edit]