One major effect on the natural resources agencies of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1970 was the increase in formal public participation in agency decision making. NEPA's environmental impact statement (EIS) process has been one very important means by which the public, particularly environmentalists, have participated in natural resources decision making.1 Beginning with the poverty agencies' "maximum feasible participation" programs in the 1960s, public participation spread to a variety of other policy areas, and as NEPA was being passed, several natural resources agencies were experimenting with citizen participation. The Army Corps of Engineers was among the first to develop public participation programs, and it still has one of the better programs, even though its efforts have not always been fully effective.2 Public participation has been official Forest Service policy since 1970, falling under the "Inform and Involve" program established in 1972.3 While not so well publicized, the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM's) public participation program is comparable in form and scope to the Forest Service's.
In one sense, public participation was nothing new for land management agencies. The institution of the BLM advisory board, for example, was a mechanism for permitting participation in agency decision making by a public, although a rather narrow one. But when critics argued that the public lands agencies did not afford the public access to decision mak-