Federal Lands

The federal government manages nearly half of the territory of California – about 46%. Most of this land is controlled by four federal entinties: The Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, the Department of Defense (DoD) and/or the National Parks Service. But these lands do not​ belong​ to the federal government.

California’s indigenous people have been a part of the landscape for millennia, and this is precisely why Yes California and dozens of California’s sovereign nations endorse the ideas presented through the #ReturnCalifornia initiative.

Constitutional secession from the United States will inevitably involve a treaty between California and the U.S., in which many issues will be ironed out. Eventually, all federal lands in California would be retroceded back to California’s indigenous peoples. The new nation of California will work in conjunction with indigenous people of the land to care for it.

There are already Californian agencies performing the same functions as the federal government. With the guidance of California’s first people, those agencies will take over the management of almost half of the territory in California, reversing nearly two centuries of federal neglect.​

Of the approximately 5% of California’s federal land under the control of the Department of Defense, leases can be arranged that will allow continued operation of said bases, with California oversight. Those lands could remain in American hands under military base agreements and/or be turned over to the California Military Department.

None of these ideas are set in stone, but we believe that Californians, together with California’s indigenous peoples, can do a better job of managing and stewarding the land better then the federal government has over the last century.