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Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plays a pivotal role in the stewardship of public lands in the United States. Administering over 245 million acres of public land, the BLM is responsible for a wide range of activities, from conservation efforts to resource management, impacting various aspects of environmental and land use policies.

Bureau of Land Management

BLM Overview

The BLM manages one of the largest portfolios of land in the federal government, primarily focused on vast, rural areas predominantly in the western United States. Its mandate includes the management of natural resources, wildlife habitats, recreational areas, and historical sites, ensuring their preservation for future generations while balancing sustainable use.

BLM History

Established in 1946 through the merger of the General Land Office and the Grazing Service, the BLM has evolved to address the changing needs of public land management. Its history reflects the nation’s growing awareness and commitment to environmental conservation, public land use rights, and sustainable resource management.

List of BLM Managed Areas

Most BLM public lands are located in these 12 western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming and consist of:

  • National Monuments
  • National Conservation Areas
  • Wilderness Areas
  • Wilderness Study Areas
  • National Scenic and Historic Trails
  • Rivers and National Conservation Lands

National Landscape Conservation System

The National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS), managed by the BLM, is a collection of federally designated areas that protect significant historical, cultural, and ecological landscapes. It encompasses monuments, conservation areas, wilderness areas, and other special designations.

Category Unit type Number BLM acres/
National Conservation Lands National Monuments 27 5,590,135 acres
National Conservation Lands National Conservation Areas 16 3,671,519 acres
National Conservation Lands Areas Similar to
National Conservation Areas
5 436,164 acres
Wilderness Wilderness Areas 221 8,711,938 acres
Wilderness Wilderness Study Areas 528 12,760,472 acres
National Wild and Scenic Rivers National Wild and
Scenic Rivers

1,001,353 acres

2,423 miles

National Trails System National Historic Trails 13 5,078 miles
National Trails System National Scenic Trails 5 683 miles
  Totals 877

About 36 million acres
(some units overlap)

8,184 miles

BLM Managed Programs

Below are a few of the programs that are managed by the Bureau of Land Management – we have included only those that are related to exploring the outdoors.

BLM’s managed programs cover a wide spectrum, including:

  • Energy and Mineral Development
  • Timber Harvesting
  • Grazing Management
  • Outdoor Recreation
  • Wild Horse and Burro Management
  • Fire Management
  • Cultural and Historical Preservation

BLM Arizona

BLM Arizona oversees a diverse landscape, managing desert basins, rugged mountains, and unique ecosystems. They focus on conservation efforts, recreational activities, and managing natural resources.

  1. Agua Fria National Monument
  2. Ironwood Forest National Monument
  3. Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument
  4. Vermilion Cliffs

BLM Arizona also focuses on various programs, including:

  • Energy: Development of renewable energy on public lands.
  • National Conservation Lands: Management of magnificent conservation lands.
  • Recreation: Offers diverse landscapes for various recreational activities.
  • Wild Horse and Burro Program: Manages and protects wild horses and burros.
  • Resource Planning: Ensures Resource Management Plans meet NEPA requirements​1​​2​.

BLM California

In California, the BLM manages areas that encompass coastal regions, forests, deserts, and cultural sites. The focus is on balancing conservation with recreational access and resource utilization.

  • Inyo National Forest: Input on proposed wild horse gather.
  • BLM Ukiah Field Office: Easing seasonal fire restrictions.
  • Northern California District Resource Advisory Council: Seeking nominations.
  • Mother Lode Field Office: Easing seasonal fire restrictions.
  • California Desert District: Seeking nominations for the Desert Advisory Council.

BLM California’s key programs cover:

  • Fire Restrictions & Information
  • Maps: Frequently requested BLM California maps.
  • Planning and NEPA: Viewing plans and NEPA documents in development.
  • Recreation Activities: Information on recreational opportunities in California​3​.

BLM Nevada

BLM Nevada is known for its oversight of vast arid landscapes, including significant desert areas. Their management emphasizes land health, sustainable development, and conservation of natural habitats.

  • Basin Range National Monument
  • Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
  • Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
  • Gold Butte National Monument

BLM Nevada’s programs include:

  • Oil & Gas Leasing: Managing onshore oil and gas program.
  • Greater Sage-Grouse: Inhabiting sagebrush-steppe lands.
  • Great Basin Landscape Conservation Cooperative: Enhances understanding of climate and other impacts.
  • Sustainable Wild Horse and Burro Program: Developing a 5-year gather plan for healthy and sustainable populations.
  • Nevada Resource Advisory Council: Serves as a sounding board for BLM initiatives​4​.

BLM Utah

In Utah, the BLM administers a range of landscapes from high mountains to desert valleys, focusing on protecting natural resources, promoting responsible recreation, and preserving historical and cultural sites.

  • Resource Advisory Councils and Monument Advisory Committees: Seeking nominations.
  • Christmas Tree-Cutting Permit Sales: Began sales for permits.
  • Public Land Sales: Seeking comments on sale in Emery County and proposed direct land sale in Garfield County.
  • Paria River District: Invites citizen scientists for Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count.
  • Visitor Center Hours: Announcing winter holiday hours for Visitor Centers and Paria Canyon permits​5​.

These lists and project descriptions offer a snapshot of the diverse and extensive activities carried out by the Bureau of Land Management in these Southwestern states, highlighting their commitment to land conservation, resource management, and public engagement.

The Bureau of Land Management is a crucial agency in the United States, playing a significant role in the preservation and sustainable use of public lands. With a balance of conservation, recreation, and resource management, the BLM ensures that the nation’s natural and cultural treasures are protected for current and future generations. As environmental challenges evolve, the BLM continues to adapt its strategies to meet the needs of the land and the people who depend on it.

References Used

Bureau of Land Management