May 11, 2006
In Reply Refer To:
9130 (BC-650) P
Instruction Memorandum No. 2006-150
Expires: 09/30/2007
To:                   All Washington Office and Field Officials
From:               Assistant Director, Business and Fiscal Resources
Subject:           Recreation and Cultural Interest Area Symbols
Program Area: Guidance applies to all offices involved in the preparation of maps and all other graphics, publications, exhibits, and signs.
Purpose: To maintain consistency in the use of international recreation symbols on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) products and sites to minimize confusion and promote a professional BLM image.
Policy/Action: International recreation symbols are widely used in the public and private sector to communicate information visually. Within the BLM, they are used with more and more frequency to inform, warn, and guide visitors to BLM lands and facilities. They appear in maps, in publications, and on signs. They are critical to public safety and in maximizing the BLM experience. To be effective, and to minimize confusion, all BLM offices and products must be consistent in the use of recreation symbols and their definitions.
The most definitive source for international recreation symbols is the Department of Transportation’s Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). This manual of symbols, however, is not all inclusive, nor does it fully meet the needs of the BLM. The Forest Service (FS) has adopted the symbols contained in the MUTCD and supplemented it with their own symbols. The BLM has taken this one further step and adopted the symbols of the MUTCD and the FS and those symbols that are unique to BLM. This comprehensive symbol set provides the consistency that our different disciplines need in maintaining compatibility with the MUTCD and the FS. Care should be taken to use these symbols and their definitions in the context for which they were intended. Adoption of other symbol sets used by various Government agencies or our partners is discouraged. The symbols are available electronically at http://www.blm.gov/nstc/mapstandards/intlsym.html. This site is also linked to the National Sign Center’s website, http://www.wy.blm.gov/signs/, and incorporated into the Sign Handbook.
Timeframe: This IM is effective immediately.
Budget Impact:  None.
Background: There is no single Government agency responsible for managing international recreational symbols. The closest is the Department of Transportation’s MUTCD and currently this is less than 100 symbols. As a result, the public and Government agencies at all levels have developed their own symbol sets. This often leads to confusion. For example, there are at least five known symbols currently in use for drinking water. One can understand different agencies using different symbols. Within the BLM, however, there are different symbols used in maps, publications, and signs. The proliferation of symbols often leads to confusion not to mention questions concerning the BLM’s image. The new symbol set is consistent with the MUTCD and the FS. It is available in several different software formats. All State Office mapping websites are encouraged to link to and/or post the new symbol set. Every effort has been made to ensure compatibility and availability for all BLM users.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: None.
Coordination: Coordination has occurred between the Bureau Printing Officer; the National Science and Technology Center (NSTC) Mapping Sciences Group; WO Recreation; other State mapping groups; and other agencies.
Contact:   For further information, please contact Lee Campbell, BLM National Business Center, at 303-236-9422, or Bill Jackson, Chief, BLM NSTC, Branch of Cartographic Applications, at 303-236-7345.
Signed by:                                                                   
Authenticated by:
Janine Velasco                                                             
Robert M. Williams
Acting, Assistant Director                                            
Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Business and Fiscal Resources