BLM issues 'wild lands' guidance to its field managers

The US Bureau of Land Management issued guidance to its field managers on Feb. 25 describing how the agency will use its land use planning process to help states, communities, Indian tribes, and other stakeholders develop the best ways to manage public land with wilderness characteristics.

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Mar. 1 -- The US Bureau of Land Management issued guidance to its field managers on Feb. 25 describing how the agency will use its land use planning process to help states, communities, Indian tribes, and other stakeholders develop the best ways to manage public land with wilderness characteristics.

The guidance was issued under Secretarial Order 3310, which US Interior Sec. Ken Salazar issued in December. The order restores a policy that was revoked in 2003 as part of an out-of-court settlement between then-Sec. Gale A. Norton, Utah’s state government, and other parties. BLM has not had comprehensive, long-term guidance on managing public land with wilderness characteristics since that time, Salazar said when he issued the order.

The policy is “a common sense approach that also makes good economic sense,” BLM Director Robert V. Abbey said as he issued it. The order, which some groups consider a de facto setting aside of additional acreage for wilderness, requires BLM to consider all resources on public lands, including wilderness characteristics, in its land use planning. Land with wilderness characteristics provides outstanding recreational opportunities as well as cultural, scientific, historical, and environmental resources, supports of the policy argue.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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