BLM Eastern States History

In 1954, the Bureau of Land Management was only eight years old when it reorganized from regional offices to state offices.  The Eastern States office was established to manage the BLM's responsibilities for public lands in the 31 states east of and bordering the Mississippi River; and to administer the Eastern States Land Office, which included the public land records from former offices of the General Land Office (GLO) in the mid-western and southern states.

At one time, the GLO managed more than 400 offices to facilitate the transfer of public domain lands to private ownership.  Today, the Eastern States continues in the spirit of the GLO and houses the largest collection of Land Title Records in the world, including more than 9 million historic land title records dating back to 1787.

The Eastern States headquarters were originally set in Washington, D.C., but were relocated to Silver Springs, Maryland, in 1963.  The office crossed the Potomac when it moved to Alexandria, Virginia, in 1973, and finally found a home in Springfield, Virginia, in 1992.  The Eastern States State Office returned to Washington, D.C., in 2015 when we became co-located with the Washington Office.

As the BLM took on Federal onshore minerals responsibilities, activity in the Eastern States grew and more natural resource challenges emerged in the East.  The focus of the Eastern States expanded from the primary mission of a land title office to encompass many of the same issues managed by the BLM in the West.  The merger of the BLM and Minerals Management Service gave BLM Eastern States significant new mineral management responsibilities, and District Offices were created in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Jackson, Mississippi in 1983.

In 1993, the Milwaukee District Office was re-designated as the Milwaukee Field Office, and the Jackson District Office became the Jackson Field Office.  In 2010, these two offices were renamed the Northeastern States and Southeastern States Field Offices respectively, and in 2015 both offices reclaimed their former status and are now known as the Northeastern and Southeastern States Districts.

In 2001, the Lower Potomac Field Station Office was established in Lorton, Virginia, to administer the Meadowood Special Recreation Area in Fairfax County, Virginia, and the Douglas Point Recreation Area in Charles County, Maryland.  

Eastern States manages public lands and resources for present and future generations.  This includes the development of solid and fluid minerals on public domain and acquired lands on approximately 40 million acres of federal mineral estate, and scattered surface tracts in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The BLM Eastern States functions in the same manner as those throughout the West, focusing on widely-based multiple-use resource management under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976.