The Office of State Lands and Investments (OSLI) serves as the administrative arm of the Board of Land Commissioners (BLC) and the State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB), and is a fiduciary agency for the State of Wyoming and the State’s trust beneficiaries. With a staff of 100 authorized employees, OSLI manages 3.9 million subsurface acres and 3.5 million surface acres for the fiduciary benefit of fifteen (15) separate beneficiaries (86% of which support the K-12 school system). Further, OSLI oversees fifteen (15) grant and loan programs for the health, safety, and general welfare of the residents of Wyoming. OSLI also houses the State Forester, who is statutorily charged with directing all forest interests and all matters pertaining to forestry within the jurisdiction of the State. The State Forester is also charged with fire responsibility for the 3.5 million surface acres and provides technical assistance on private forested land across the State. The State Forester administers the Emergency Fire Suppression Account, and is the Governor’s Authorized Representative (GAR) for wildfire related issues.
Agency Background and Structure
When Wyoming was admitted to the union in 1890, it was granted certain lands to support public education and other State institutions like the University of Wyoming, the Veteran’s Home, and the State Hospital. At the same time, the Wyoming Constitution created the BLC, consisting of the State’s five (5) elected officials. The Wyoming Constitution and the Wyoming State Legislature direct the BLC to manage trust assets consistent with traditional trust principles of long-term growth in value and optimum, sustainable revenue production. The trust assets are comprised of three (3) asset classes: State Trust Land, State Trust Minerals, and the State Permanent Land Fund.
The Wyoming State Legislature also directs the SLIB, consisting of the same five (5) elected officials, to manage the permanent land funds in accordance with the State’s Investment Policy. The SLIB also administers various statutorily created grant and loan programs offered to cities, towns, counties, and certain special districts for the health, safety, and general welfare of the residents of Wyoming. These grants and loans finance capital construction and other infrastructure projects.
In addition to providing leadership to OSLI, and facilitating and guiding the agency, the Director of OSLI is a member of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC). Meeting monthly in Casper, the Governor is the chairman of the WOGCC and customarily designates the Director of OSLI as Acting Chairman. The State Forester holds a position on the State Fire Advisory Board, State Forestry Advisory Committee, Wyoming Community Forestry Council, and the State Stewardship Committee. OSLI contains the following divisions:
Trust Land Management Division
Field Services Division
State Forestry Division
Financial Programs & Management Division
OSLI operates out of its headquarters in Cheyenne, and has nine (9) field offices located in Lander, Meeteetse, Newcastle, Buffalo, Riverton, Lyman, Pinedale, Casper, and Laramie.