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Washington, DC 20240
August 2, 2011
In Reply Refer To:
6100 (170) P
Information Bulletin No. 2011-082
To:                   All Field Officials
From:               Director
Subject:          Government Land Office 200thAnniversary and Homestead Act 150th Anniversary 2012 Commemoration                        DD: August 15, 2011
In 2012, the United States will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the General Land Office (GLO) and the 150th anniversary of the passage of the Homestead Act. Plans are underway for this 2012 Commemoration, which will officially begin January 1st and extend through the end of the year. Many national and local BLM partners are expected to join us in celebrating this important Commemorative Year.  I will be personally participating in Commemorative activities, and I would like to encourage you to participate in these activities as well. 
This Information Bulletin provides some background information regarding the GLO 200th and Homestead Act 150th Anniversary Commemoration and a summary of some of the Commemoration efforts already underway.
Background: This Commemoration offers a unique opportunity to capture the history of public lands from the beginnings of the GLO, to the creation of the BLM in 1946, and to the present day. Sharing the story of the abundant contributions the GLO and the BLM have made to the rich history and prosperity of the United States is important. The Commemoration can provide an opportunity for the American public to learn about the BLM and to further strengthen their connection to their public lands.
The Homestead Act of 1862 gave individuals the opportunity to claim free government land and created a world-wide impact in the process. Tens-of-thousands of people claimed and settled more than 270 million acres.
The stories of these homesteaders and how BLM public land management is preserving and conserving these stories will be a Commemoration highlight. Many were immigrants, and their stories reflect their invaluable contributions to their adopted country. Native Americans had already written their history within these lands and the BLM will work with tribes in telling their stories, as well.   
Government Land Office and Homestead Act 2012 Commemoration National Events: A number of National GLO and Homestead Act 2012 Commemoration Events are already in the planning stages, including: 
  • The BLM Eastern States Office is leading the preparations for a GLO Commemoration Reception, to be hosted April 2012 at the Department of the Interior.
  • As part of the Commemoration, AD Communication is coordinating an update of the “Opportunity and Challenges” and developing an associated website. 
The Homestead Act and GLO National Task Group has been working on a number of national initiatives over the last 2 years; sponsored and funded by WO 240 (Cultural, Paleontological Resources and Tribal Consultation).   Lead by Bob King and Megg Heath, the Task Group’s planning is well underway and is developing a number of products for use in connection with the 2012 Commemoration. These include a poster series for both the Homestead Act and GLO; cataloguing of homestead sites on BLM lands (many located within NLCS units); give-away products; development of a Homestead Act and GLO website to be launched fall of 2011( linked to “Opportunity and Challenges” website); and film and oral history for several BLM located homestead sites. 
  • The Commemoration is being interfaced with the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. 
  • The Public Land Foundation (PLF) is in the process of exploring and planning a wide variety of Commemoration opportunities for 2012, including: a GLO and Homestead Act Symposium hosted at the University of Colorado Boulder; updating the History of BLM (1984); displays and traveling exhibits to be hosted at different schools; an Arizona State University Seminar exploring different roles within public land policy; oral histories; historic reenactments; and more. 
Other BLM National Programs and Field Offices are already putting together their 2012 Commemoration Plans. The Commemoration will result in many products intended for use well beyond 2012.
Invitation to Participate: The BLM’s managers and employees are encouraged to participate in State-sponsored local events and to the extent feasible, the national events as well.   The 2012 GLO and Homestead Act Commemoration is a unique opportunity for the BLM to celebrate its historic origins and to reach out to the American public. This is an opportunity to celebrate not only the historic contributions of BLM public lands, but BLM’s deep commitment to serve the American public through innovative and insightful public land stewardship.
I look forward to celebrating with all of you.
Angela West (WO 171) will be serving as the BLM’s National GLO and Homestead Act Commemoration Lead. Her role is to assist you in your Commemoration efforts and to assist in coordinating among planned activities and events.  In addition, all events should be coordinated with your external affairs staff to ensure that events also advance AGO efforts. I would like each State to designate a Commemoration Lead and provide that name and contact information to Angela by August 15, 2011.  If you have any questions, please contact Angela West at Angela_West@blm.gov; or 505-842-3444.
Signed by:                                           Authenticated by:
Robert V. Abbey                                  Robert M. Williams
Director                                               Division of IRM Governance,WO-560

Last updated: 08-05-2011