Magazine article American Forests

BLM: A Partner of Communities

Magazine article American Forests

BLM: A Partner of Communities

Article excerpt

For over a century, BLM and its predecessor agencies did a "land office" business with communities. Starting in 1787, we surveyed lands the federal government acquired, and sold or gave them away for farms, railroads, and other economic activity, as well as a variety of federal activities.

Because BLM's mission was complete when the lands were disposed of, it rarely involved itself in the community beyond this role. But the West succeeded, and much land remained.

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), passed in 1976, confirmed that BLM lands would be retained for the national interest and managed for a wide variety of uses and values determined through an interdisciplinary planning process.

BLM has always worked with communities because our lands are intermingled with both private lands and those of other agencies.

We have learned that we need to work closely with communities to sustain the health of the land-and thus sustain local economies. At a two-day workshop on collaborative planning, we learned federal land management agencies cannot be good stewards by standing behind federal boundaries. …

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