BLM California Virtual Visitor: Eastern States

Introduction and highlights of BLM in other states

Welcome to the second installment of this occasional feature in News.Bytes, created to mark the 60th anniversary of BLM's creation as a national agency. In California, there are 15.2 million acres of BLM public lands for you to use, share, and appreciate. Nationwide, BLM is responsible for 261.8 million acres, mostly in the 12 western States, including Alaska, and for 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate. Over the next few months, we will feature another BLM state (or in some cases, a group of states), providing you with a sampling of a particular office's specialties and areas of concentration, and links to more information.

In this issue: "Eastern States: Guardians of the Past, and Stewards for the Future" (Please note: most of the links below will take you to BLM Eastern States' website.)

BLM's Eastern States Region encompasses the 31 states east of the Mississippi River. The Eastern States Region manages 40 million acres of subsurface land (such as minerals, oil, gas, coal) and 30,000 acres of surface public lands.

BLM California thanks Eastern States State Director Mike Nedd and External Affairs Chief Terry Lewis for their support with this new feature.

Cadastral Survey Lands & Realty Minerals Wild Horse and Burro program Fire Management Program Natural Resources General Land Office

One area of focus for the Eastern States Region, is keeping records from the General Land Office. Their website was selected by Family Tree Magazine as one of best website for "roots resources." The Land Office records include more than 9 million historic land documents (survey plats, field notes, homestead patents, military warrants and railroad grants). As the successor agency to the General Land Office, BLM maintains most of the related records from 1788 to the present day. It is an invaluable resource for historians, title companies, natural resource agencies, and for people researching genealogy.

Survey plats are a recent addition to this site. Survey plats were the official survey documentation used when land title was transferred (via a Land Patent) from the Federal government to individuals. The drawings were created to represent survey lines, boundaries, descriptions, parcels and subdivisions. They are critical historic documents that can be used to help researchers locate the land referenced in a land patent's legal land description (i.e. Meridian, Township, Range, and Section/Block).
General Land Office and Records Automation Program
Applying an official seal to a copy of a record

Antique embossing machine at the GLO.

Eastern States also works in many other areas:

Cadastral Survey:
Cadastral surveys, in general, create, re-establish, mark and define boundaries of Federal Interest Lands to facilitate the administration of the various Public Land Laws of the United States. The Eastern States cadastral survey staff also assists the general public, state agencies, and professional surveyor associations by providing access and interpretation of cadastral survey plats and field notes; and conducting technical cadastral survey training for professional surveying associations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Energy and Minerals Program:
Eastern States' Division of Resources Planning and Protection is charged with managing Federal mineral ownership in the 31 states adjoining or east of the Mississippi River. Eastern States administers approximately 30,000 acres of widely-scattered Federal surface and 39 million acres of federally-owned minerals, which are located under land administrated by other Federal Agencies or owned by the states or private individuals.
Energy and Mineral Resources Program
Underground lead mine in Missouri

Underground lead mine in Missouri

Wild horses and burros:
Alabama, Michigan, South Carolina, Michigan - Eastern States will hold wild horse and burro adoptions in all of these states in upcoming months. See the adoption schedule through summer of 2007.
Wild Horse and Burro program
A wild burro waits for adoption

A wild burro waits for adoption

Interesting tidbits:
Wander about BLM's Eastern States website, for links to a variety of items. One example:
Douglas Point, on the banks of the historic Potomac River, has been home to human populations for thousands of years. Now managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Douglas Point area hosts diverse plant and animal populations as well as a historic homesite occupied as early as the 18th century and throughout the 19th century. The focus of this study is the period between 1841-1874, when the homesite was owned by the Reverend William J. Chiles. The chimney ruins of his house, built in 1798 by Francis Shepard, mark the archaeological traces of these early residents and their households. This website which includes historical details and a photo-virtual tour, was prepared for the BLM's Eastern States Office by the William and Mary Center for Archaeological Research.

Below are several questions regarding public lands administered by the Eastern States. You can find a link to the answers at the bottom of this page -- or follow the links to pages on the Eastern States website that contain the answers plus related information.

  1. How many wild horses or burros can you generally adopt within a 12-month period?
    1. One
    2. Two
    3. Four
    4. 12
  2. In what year was the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act passed into law?
    1. 1823
    2. 1959
    3. 1971
    4. 1985
  3. Cadastral is a technique to measure land. A rectangular survey system established more than 200 years ago includes townships. What is the size of a township?
    1. 1/6 of a square miles
    2. 6 square miles
    3. 16 square miles
    4. 160 square miles
  4. How far back do the historic land records from the General Land Office (now maintained by the BLM) date?
    1. late 1700's
    2. mid-1800's
    3. just after the Civil War
    4. 1906
  5. Do these GLO records include the western states?
    1. No - these records were destroyed in a fire at a courthouse in 1917
    2. No - these are kept in a federal depository in Los Angeles, California
    3. Yes
  6. How many historic land documents from the GLO, does BLM maintain?
    1. A little more than 10,000
    2. Almost 175,000
    3. 1.75 million
    4. More than nine million
  7. How much public land is available for homesteading in the Eastern States?
    1. 100 acres
    2. 500 acres
    3. 3,000 acres
    4. 1,300,000 acres
    5. None
  8. Eastern States hosts an elite wildland fire fighting crew. One of only 65 Hotshot crews designated in the United States and one of six crews sponsored by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management. Where is the crew located?
    1. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    2. Springfield, Virginia
    3. Jackson, Mississippi
    4. Deadwood Special Recreation Area

Answers to the above questions

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