by Sarah Curry
Director of Fiscal Policy Studies
In North Carolina, the federal government owns 1.7 million acres, or 7.7 percent of the state. Federal land is found in nearly half of the state’s counties, yet the majority of the federally owned land is concentrated in the western part of the state. Counties derive the majority of their revenues from property taxes, but the inability of local governments to collect property taxes on federally owned land creates a negative fiscal impact for these counties. The five counties with the most federal land are Swain, Macon, Haywood, Graham, and Cherokee Counties encompassing more than 720 thousand acres of land.
Here is a list of the counties and the number of acres within their borders owned by the federal government.