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Blog

Our favorite stories about public lands and opportunities for you to get involved in protecting your outdoor experiences.

 

Help Shape the Future of Our Public Lands

Louis Geltman

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages millions of acres of public land, with some of the best mountain biking, hiking, camping, paddling, and climbing in the country. Right now, the BLM is reevaluating how it manages these places, and it is inviting public input until this Wednesday.

What does this mean, and how can you make a difference? We’ve tackle your biggest questions below and created and easy-to-use tool that will let you send a letter to the BLM right here.

What is BLM Planning?

The BLM is responsible for managing more than 245 million acres of public land in the West, including many iconic places for outdoor recreation, including mountain biking trails in Moab, climbing in Red Rocks, Nevada, and paddling in Colorado. Right now, BLM is considering important changes in how it manages these public lands.

The BLM uses resources management plans (RMPs), which are kind of like zoning maps for our public lands. They lay out broad contours for what different activities are allowed and where they can happen, including everything from oil and gas and mineral development to renewable energy development to recreation and conservation. Not every activity is allowed in every place, and RMPs are a big part of how the BLM creates order among these sometimes-conflicting uses.

Planning 2.0” is BLM’s ongoing initiative to update how it creates RMPsand make it more modern and responsive to contemporary challenges and needs.

The process for creating RMPs is vital for ensuring the values that we care about—values like protecting wild places, recreation access, and public participation in plan development—are protected.

Why does it matter for people who love to get outside?

BLM needs modern tools and processes for the management of important places for our community. BLM land includes an immeasurable number of important places for outdoor recreation and conservation, as well as places that will continue to be important for other values like renewable energy and other resource development.

What 3 things do I have to know about BLM Planning 2.0?

BLM’s updates to its regulations would do several things that would be tremendously beneficial for outdoor recreation:

  • First, this “Planning 2.0” initiative would help to create more opportunities for public involvement, and do it earlier in the planning process when public input can be most beneficial.
  • Second, it would create a new “planning assessment” stage that would direct planners to collect information—including important information about outdoor recreation—to help inform the planning process. The outdoor recreation community is often, if not always, the best source of information on where people go, what we do there, and the values that exist in these places. Making sure that planners collect and employ that knowledge is going to go a long way to ensuring that our community’s values are reflected in management plans.
  • Third, the new process will help planners work across landscapes and at multiple scales. What this means is that planners will be able to do a better job of recognizing that rivers, wildlife, and people don’t stop at arbitrary boundaries.

This sounds important. What can I do to help?

Let BLM know that outdoor recreation and public involvement in the planning process are important to you, and that you support the goals of Planning 2.0.

*Climbing photos by Patrick Massaro, shared by Gabe Kiritz. All other photos via the BLM flickr; mountain biking photos by Leslie Kehmeier, all other photos by Bob Wick.