Leasable and Energy Minerals on National Forest System Lands

The Forest Service manages its mineral and energy program to provide commodities for current and future generations commensurate with the need to sustain the long-term health and biological diversity of ecosystems.  

Leasable minerals are those federally-managed minerals governed by the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended, or the Mineral Leasing Act for Acquired Lands of 1947, and include energy minerals such as oil, gas and coal, and other mineral commodities such as phosphate, potassium, sodium, gilsonite, oil shale, and sulphur.  The Forest Service also manages geothermal resources as part of its leasable minerals program.  Geothermal resources are governed under the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970.  On acquired national forest system (NFS) lands, hardrock minerals such as gold, silver and copper are also leasable minerals subject to specific statutory authorities.

By law, the Department of the Interior has principal authority to manage leasable minerals.  These activities are carried out by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  When leasable minerals occur under NFS lands, the Forest Service and the BLM cooperate on mineral leasing and related actions based on applicable laws and regulations for the type of leasable mineral. Please see link below to the various leasable mineral commodities.


Specialty Areas


Bridger Lake 5 well from the air and surrounded by a forest of green trees.

General Information

Forest Service Energy Strategic Plan: Forest Service plan to meet National
Energy Plan goals.

36 CFR 228 Subpart E :Forest Service regulations for oil and gas operations
on National Forest System lands.

FSM 2820: Forest Service manual section for mineral leasing operations on National Forest System lands.

FSM 2860: Forest Service manual section for mineral prospecting and collecting
on National Forest System lands, including geophysical activities.