SEC. 55-3-47. Leasing and conveyance of easements and rights-of-way; settlement of tityle or boundary disputes; sale or exchange of certain state park lands; disposition of revenues.
(1) In order to carry out its management responsibilities over all state park lands which are now or which may hereafter come under its jurisdiction, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks is hereby authorized to lease, and to grant easements and rights-of-way over and across, any part of such state park lands. Such leases, easements and rights-of-way may be granted for such consideration, and upon such terms and conditions, as the department may deem to be in the best interest of the state, consistent with the use of said lands for recreational purposes, and subject to the following limitations: The department shall lease such lands for a term not exceeding twenty-five (25) years and shall grant in the original lease contract a nonnegotiable option to renew such lease for an additional term not to exceed twenty-five (25) years. Both the original lease contract and the option to renew such lease shall be transferable contracts. Further, the department shall not lease such lands for purposes which are incompatible with recreational use and may place such terms, limitations, restrictions and conditions in such leases as are deemed necessary to ensure the proper utilization of such lands. Any easement for a utility line shall be granted for that period of time which the department deems to be in the best interest of a state park.
(2) The department is further authorized to enter into such agreements as may be required, upon such terms as may be found to be in the best interest of the state, in settlement of disputes or litigation regarding the title to or boundaries of any state park lands within the jurisdiction of the department, provided such settlement agreements shall be negotiated and drafted with the advice, counsel and assistance of the Attorney General and shall be approved by the Department of Finance and Administration.
(3) In case any of the real estate within any state park under the jurisdiction of the department shall cease to be used or useful for state park purposes, or becomes the subject of boundary or title disputes or litigation, the department may sell and convey the same, with the approval of the Department of Finance and Administration, upon such terms as the Department of Finance and Administration may elect and may, in addition, exchange the same, with the approval of the department, for real estate belonging to any other political subdivision or state, county or local governmental agency or department. The department is authorized to sell and convey or otherwise transfer any state park or historical site as described in subsection (2) of Section 55-3-33. Before any such sale or transfer, except as may occur in settlement of title or boundary disputes or litigation, the department shall publish notice of its intention to sell the park land by public sale to the highest and best bidder at least once each week for three (3) consecutive weeks in at least one (1) public newspaper of general circulation in the county where such land is located and also in at least one (1) newspaper of general circulation throughout the state. Prior to any such sale, the department shall obtain at least two (2) separate and independent appraisals of the land to be sold and may not accept any bid lower than the average of all appraisals made. The department may reject any and all bids. The owner or any co-owner of record next preceding the state in title to any lands sold hereunder by public bid, excluding any entity which may have exercised the power of eminent domain to assist the state in acquiring said lands, shall have the opportunity to reacquire such lands by matching the successful bid therefor. If the owner or any co-owner of record next preceding the state in title, or the heirs or estate of such owner or co-owner, acquires said lands, then the department shall not reserve unto the state any minerals owned by the state underlying the conveyed lands. However, if anyone other than such owner or co-owner, or his heirs or estate, acquires said lands, then the department shall reserve unto the state one-half ( 1 /2 ) of the minerals owned by the state underlying the conveyed lands, except for lands sold in settlement of title or boundary disputes or litigation, in which case the department may, in its discretion, reserve said minerals. Appraisal fees shall be shared equally by the department and purchaser.
(4) In exercising the authority granted in this section, the department may act by and through its executive director in the execution of any document or instrument prepared hereunder. Any lease, deed or settlement agreement executed under the provisions of this section shall bear the seal and attest of the Secretary of State, with whom said instrument or document shall be filed and recorded in addition to any other recording requirements of state law.
This section shall not apply to sixteenth section school lands or lieu lands included within any state park, except as may be necessary or appropriate for the department to ratify or confirm any action taken by the agency or department having jurisdiction over such school or lieu lands.
All revenues collected by the department by virtue of any transaction consummated under the provisions of this section shall be deposited in the Mississippi Park Fund created by Section 55-3-41, from which funds shall be expended only as authorized by the legislative appropriations process.
SOURCES: Codes, 1942, Sec. 5958-09; Laws, 1971, ch. 492, Sec. 9; 1984, ch. 494; 1986, ch. 500, Sec. 43; 1987, ch. 377; 1989, ch. 544, Sec. 124, eff from and after July 1, 1989.