Stewardship drives the BLM’s approach to managing vast areas of public land

By Derrick Henry, Public Affairs Specialist

Vast areas of public land are entrusted to the Bureau of Land Management for stewardship conducted by 10,000 employees. This includes more than 245 million acres of public land (one in every ten acres of the nation’s land surface), located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres (about one-third) of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation.

These resources are managed for various uses that occur at the same time, an approach called multiple use and sustained yield. In our 2022 Sound Investment brochure, the BLM has highlighted many activities from fiscal year 2021 that advanced this unique approach to public land management, which supported $201 billion in economic output and nearly 783,000 jobs across the country. This work is done in accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, also known as FLPMA.

Standing at the base of a cliff, two people look at tree.
The Mecca Hills Wilderness in California -- near the city of Indio and less than an hour southeast of Palm Springs. BLM photo by Bob Wick.

In fiscal year 2021, BLM California developed a comprehensive management plan for public lands in the Alabama Hills in Inyo County. This action fulfilled requirements in the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which includes the permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Every Kid Outdoors Program, and improvements to public land access.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, employees made big moves in stewardship. There, the McInnis Canyons, Dominguez-Escalante, and Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Areas engaged local communities through the Colorado Canyons Association to provide more than 4,600 hours of volunteer stewardship, including Leave No Trace visitor outreach, fire rehabilitation, and cleanups.

Finally, in Montana, BLM employees worked to provide public access for recreational users while enhancing wildlife habitat. The result was an acquisition of 5,600 acres of land in the Western Montana District, which restored habitat for threatened and endangered species while ensuring proper watershed function for aquatic species. The acquisition also maintains active forestry and fuels programs and continued use of grazing and provides greater access to important areas for Tribal groups.

Stewardship remains a key part of the BLM’s mission, one that reflects everyone’s shared love of our public lands. We encourage you to learn more about the BLM’s work and how it contributes to the national economy at our Sound Investment 2022 webpage.


BLM employees take government policy and turn it into real work on the ground. This article is based on information from the BLM’s 2022 Sound Investment brochure. The brochure, which uses fiscal year 2021 data, highlights the various activities that take place on public lands, and their contributions to the national economy. In fiscal year 2021, authorized use and management of BLM-administered lands supported $201 billion in economic output and nearly 783,000 jobs across the country.