State Land Board


The Colorado State Land Board stewards a $4 billion endowment of assets -- including 2.8 million acres of surface land and four million acres of mineral estate-- in order to earn money for Colorado public schools. Trust land is leased for many uses and the rent is distributed to schools.

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Bill Ryan

Director of State Land Board

Bill Ryan, Director, State Land Board

The State Board of Land Commissioners is made up of five citizen volunteers, chosen by the Governor and confirmed by the Colorado State Legislature. Commissioners are appointed to four-year terms, and are limited to two consecutive terms.

The Colorado Constitution requires that four of our five Commissioners have substantial experience in four separate areas. However, they do not represent the interest of a particular sector, they represent the interest of the beneficiaries.

  • Public K-12 education
  • Production agriculture
  • Local government
  • Nature resources

With the consent of the Governor, the Commissioners hire a Director and the Director hires staff to perform the administrative activities of the State Land Board. The State Land Board is housed within the Department of Natural Resources and has close cooperative relationships with many state agencies in order to help serve the State Land Board’s beneficiaries.

Bill Ryan joined the State Land Board as the Director in 2011. Prior to this public sector position, Bill’s professional background was in commercial real estate development and finance. He spent 10 years with Trammell Crow Company, a national commercial real estate and development firm, where as a Principal he developed and acquired projects, including mixed use, TOD, office, industrial, retail, and land projects. He also spent more than 12 years with the commercial real estate divisions on several national banks.

Community involvement is also an important focus for Bill. He is a past Trustee and Board Chair of The Denver Foundation, Colorado’s largest community foundation, with more than $700 million in assets. Bill also combines his interests in real estate and local community as a Board President of the Urban Land Conservancy, which acquires, develops, and preserves real estate assets in urban areas to meet community needs including affordable housing and non‐profit workspace. Bill was also a founding partner and Board Chair of Social Venture Partners Denver, a venture philanthropy partnership that invests time, money, and expertise in collaborative relationships with non‐profits.

Boards and Commissions Info

State Board of Land Commissioners

The Colorado State Land Board is a constitutionally created agency that manages a $4.1 billion endowment of assets for the benefit of Colorado’s K-12 schoolchildren. The Land Board earns money for public schools by leasing 2.8 million surface acres and 4 million subsurface acres for agriculture, recreation, commercial real estate, rights-of-way, renewable energy, oil, gas, solid minerals, and more. 

Leasing operators are subject to all local, state, and federal regulations and must obtain all necessary permits prior to operation. Lessees must also comply with the Land Board's strict stewardship stipulations. Stewardship matters to the Land Board because trust lands need to be able to earn money for not only today's public schools, but also future generations of schoolchildren. Learn more about stewardship.

Trust land is not open to the public unless it is leased for recreation; 770,000 acres of trust land is made publicly available for limited sportsmen activities through Colorado Parks and Wildlife's Public Access Program

The Colorado State Land Board is the primary funding source for the Department of Education’s Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program, and the agency has distributed $2 billion to public schools in the past 15 years. Unlike most state agencies, the Land Board is entirely self-funded and receives no tax dollars. View the annual report.  


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