Section 9-13-3

Assistance, etc., of private landowners; suppression of forest fires, etc.; promotion and development of forestry, etc.; acquisition, management and disposition of land; officers, assistants and employees.

(a) The commission shall give such advice, assistance and cooperation as may be practicable to private landowners and promote, so far as it may be able, a proper appreciation in this state among all classes of the population of the benefits to be derived from forest culture, preservation and use.

(b) The commission may take such measures as may be reasonable and practicable to prevent and suppress forest fires and other influences harmful to forest growth and may apply such parts of the forestry fund and other funds accruing to it as may be necessary to such purposes and to providing such systems of control as it may establish, either independently or in cooperation with the federal government and other agencies, public or private.

(c) The commission shall be the sole cooperating agency in joint work in the promotion and development of forestry and other matters and interests devolving upon it by law, among all classes of land ownership in the state, in which both the state and the federal government may have financial or administrative participation.

(d) The commission, for the purpose of establishing, developing and maintaining state forests, administrative headquarters sites, tower sites and other areas necessary for its efficient operation, may acquire land by donation, purchase, condemnation or lease, and for these purposes may use such funds as may be available to it and not otherwise obligated and may enter into agreements with the federal government or other agencies and private landowners for acquiring by lease, purchase or otherwise such lands as in its judgment are desirable or necessary.

When lands are acquired or leased under this section, the commission is authorized to make expenditures from any funds not otherwise obligated for the management, development and utilization of such areas, to sell or otherwise dispose of products from such lands, to have sole charge of all state forests and other lands that have been acquired hereunder and to have authority to make such rules and regulations for the management, administration, occupancy and use of said lands and all property and things of whatsoever nature therein or thereon as it shall find necessary.

The commission shall have full power and authority to sell, exchange or lease lands under its jurisdiction when in its judgment it is advantageous to the state to do so in the orderly development and management of state forests and other designated areas; provided, however, that said sale, lease or exchange shall not be contrary to the terms of any contract which it has entered into.

(e) The commission may employ such officers, assistants and employees as may be necessary and, as to persons employed wholly or in part in carrying out the provisions of cooperative agreements with the federal government or other agencies, for such compensation heretofore or hereafter paid may use such contributions or receipts as may be derived from the United States or from any private or philanthropic source.

(Acts 1969, No. 764, p. 1354, §5.)