Public lands lifeline

  Wading through the vast web of laws and policies that govern our public lands can be confusing even for lawyers, let alone for ordinary citizens. Even commenting on a Bureau of Land Management resource management plan, which guides grazing, mining, oil and gas drilling, and off-road vehicle use, can be daunting. But The Wilderness Society aims to cut through the tangle with its new Denver, Colo.-based BLM Action Center.

With the BLM working on as many as 90 land-use plans over the next five years, The Wilderness Society wants to "raise public awareness about what their opportunities and rights are to participate in these planning processes," says Bill Beagle, communications manager for the center. Patterned after The Wilderness Society’s Wilderness Support Center in Durango, Colo., the BLM Action Center has an attorney, grassroots coordinator, and communications expert on hand. "People can call us to get help with a legal question or writing a press release, and we’ll also be traveling around to get our faces known," says Beagle.

The Center also provides a Web site with tools such as the BLM Citizens’ Guide and facts about BLM policies all across the West — along with a reminder that many public-lands decisions take years, and that even seemingly small opportunities for change can have a big impact.

For more information, see www.blmactioncenter.org or call 303-650-5818.

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