Bureau of Land Management Seeks Help Increasing Access to Public Lands
As part of its efforts to implement the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public assistance in nominating lands managed by the agency on which the public is allowed to hunt, fish, or use the land for other recreational purposes, but to which there is no legal public access or where access is significantly restricted. Recommendations from the public will aid the BLM in creating a report to Congress that provides options for reasonably providing access to such lands, such as by acquiring an easement, right-of-way or fee title from a willing owner.
The BLM plans to post its first priority list online at BLM’s ePlanning website by Thursday, March 12, 2020. The BLM will update the priority list every two years for at least the next decade. The public nomination period to identify parcels for inclusion on the BLM’s priority list will open on January 31, 2020, and will close on Saturday, February 29, 2020. Subsequent updates on BLM’s efforts will be published prior to the release of future priority lists in order to seek additional information and suggestions from the public.
“The BLM has worked tirelessly with other federal and state agencies, public and private partners to proactively identify and address public land access issues for many years. Our priority is to increase access to public lands wherever possible, and to increase public opportunities for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation across the more than 245 million acres of lands we manage,” said William Perry Pendley, BLM Deputy Director for Programs and Policy. “The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act will help us expand and improve these efforts, and we welcome information from the public that will help us pinpoint barriers to access.”
All lands nominated for inclusion on the BLM’s priority must be managed by the BLM, encompass at least 640 contiguous acres and have significantly restricted or have no public access. BLM must also consider the likelihood of resolving identified access issues when determining whether to include parcels on the list. When submitting nominations, the public must include the location of the nominated land or parcel, total acreage affected (if known), a description or narrative describing the lack of access, and any additional information the BLM should consider when determining if the land should be on BLM’s priority list. BLM will not include any personally identifying information concerning owners or ownership of any parcels in preparing the priority list or related congressional reports.
Public nominations will be accepted via the BLM’s ePlanning website.
This effort advances a primary goal of the Dingell Act (S. 47), which was signed into law by President Trump in March 2019. Section 4105 of the Act directs the BLM to develop a priority list, which identifies the location and acreage of BLM-managed parcels over 640 acres open to hunting, fishing, or other recreational purposes, and which have no legal public access or where access is significantly restricted.
The BLM is working to implement Dingell Act tasks assigned in Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Utah, Montana/Dakotas, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon/Washington, and the Eastern States Office (Louisiana and Minnesota). Implementing the Dingell Act is a top priority for Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt. Implementing the Dingell Act will continue the Department of the Interior’s work to strike proper balance for land and resources management, increase access for hunting, fishing, and recreation, and create economic prosperity while protecting and preserving America’s treasures.
To learn more about the Dingell Act and how it affects your public lands, please visit https://www.blm.gov/about/laws-and-regulations/dingell-act.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $111 billion in economic output across the country in fiscal year 2019—more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior. These activities supported more than 498,000 jobs.