A new vision for the BLM

  Two conservation groups have teamed up on a report intended to shift the Bureau of Land Management away from its long-term emphasis on natural-resource extraction and toward conservation of the public lands. This reasonable and readable 74-page report by the National Wildlife Federation and Natural Resources Defense Council sets out a vision for the BLM's 265,000 square miles of land in the West, and offers suggestions to change the management of the once-unknown lands. Recommendations address staffing, the agency's continued allegiance to ranching and mining, the lack of a land-protection vision, and the need for reorganization. Unlike other federal land-management agencies, the BLM is divided into states. That means a BLM state director from Wyoming, for example, tends to be dominated by that state's political machine. The report recommends that the BLM be reworked into multistate regions, weakening the control any one state would exercise over the BLM land in that state.

Conservation Management of American's Public Lands: An Assessment and Recommendations for Progress 25 Years After the Federal Land Policy and Management Act can be downloaded from www.nwf.org/grasslands/blmreport.html. A limited number of hard copies are available by request. Call Kayla Atkinson at 303/786-8001, or send e-mail to atkinson@nwf.org.