Wild Lands Policy

What is the Bureau of Land Management Wild Lands Policy?

  • On Dec. 23, 2010, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the signing of Secretarial Order 3310, instructing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to elevate the importance of wilderness characteristics over other values on federal lands.
  • The Wild Lands Order, by creating de facto wilderness areas without the consent of Congress, and by contradicting the BLM’s mission to promote working landscapes and multiple use, violates statute and should be opposed.
  • Its effects will be detrimental to livestock grazing and other natural resource industries that drive rural economies and job creation.

How are Wild Lands being affected by congressional authority?

  • Because wilderness restricts so many uses on public land, only Congress is authorized to create a wilderness area.
  • Wild Lands will not be designated by Congress, but by the BLM through land use planning and internal guidance.
  • A Wild Lands designation would allow an expanse of public land having the “characteristics” of wilderness to be managed according to the same strict standards as congressionally designated wilderness—but without the consent of Congress.

Does the BLM Wild Lands Policy harm rural communities?

  • Prioritizing wilderness values above all other multiple uses on vast new expanses of public land will adversely impact broad segments of the public who depend on public lands both for their livelihoods, and for relaxation and recreation.
  • Natural resource use, which the vast majority of rural communities depend on inestimably more than primitive recreation for their economic stability, could be significantly restricted or eliminated.
  • Uses such as grazing and energy development “may” be permit-ted, but only if deemed “compatible” with wilderness values.
  • Despite claims that these uses won’t “necessarily” be prohibited, the uncertainty posed by the Wild Lands Order robs businesses of the stable business environment they need to operate and support our rural economies.
  • Recreational uses such as OHV and motorized vehicle use would presumably be prohibited on Wild Lands.
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