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April 6, 2010
In Reply Refer To
8391 (250) P
Instruction Memorandum No. 2010-097
Expires: 09/30/2011
To:                   All Washington Office, D-NLCS and Field Officials
From:               Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
Subject:            Evaluating the Potential of Expanding the Bureau of Land Management’s
                        Recreation Concession Management Program
            DD: 06/30/10
Program Area: Recreation and Visitor Services, National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS), Engineering and Asset Management, and Lands and Realty.
Purpose:  This Instruction Memorandum (IM) gathers data required to identify and evaluate existing recreation concessions, potential opportunities, and makes recommendations to expand the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Recreation Concession Management Program.
Policy/Action:  In order to support a potential expansion of the BLM’s Recreation Concession Management Program state offices are requested to compile and submit the following data to Phil Walker, Washington Office of Recreation and Visitor Services (WO-250), by June 30, 2010:
1. Evaluate Existing, Potential Recreation Concession Opportunities and Provide Recommendations.
a. State recreation program leads will work in coordination with other affected programs to review the instructions, existing special recreation permits, agreements, and volunteer information compiled from the Recreation Management Information System as portrayed on the spreadsheets at:
b. Using examples depicted in Attachment 1, State Office Leads are to evaluate, list, and compile any and all potentially viable recreation concessions opportunities in accordance with the format provided in Attachment 2 within the state office area. To ensure the viability and condition of these assets, identify expected facility and infrastructure costs through Facility Asset Management System (FAMS), i.e., deferred maintenance and capital improvement, to bring these facilities up to acceptable standards (e.g., water filtration, accessibility, parking, etc.) for use by the public as a recreation concession entity. 
c. Furthermore, identify and provide specific recommendations, next steps, challenges, concerns, and support needed in order toimplement a recreation concessions management program for existing or potential opportunities  including, but not limited to, funding/staffing, prioritization of deferred maintenance projects, continuation or enhancement of projects/agreements as long-term investments, anticipated return on investment,  project/agreement feasibility, use of collected fees and onsite reinvestment, timelines, and impacts.
 2. An interdisciplinary BLM Recreation Concession Working Group, currently being established, will be composed of state and WO representatives to develop renewed policy guidance, recreation concessions guidelines, sample prospectus/agreement templates, service, and terms of agreement.  The group will also review plans to implement a comprehensive recreation concessions policy. Each state office is requested to submit two nominees (one manager and one staff member) to provide a pool to establish this working group.  It is estimated that less than a work month of the employee’s time will be dedicated to this endeavor in fiscal years 2010 and 2011.  WO-250 will sponsor and provide oversight for meetings, calls, and travel support.
Timeframe: This IM is effective immediately. All information required must be received no later than June 30, 2010.
Budget Impact: The budget impact of this IM is minimal to moderate.
Background: Recreation concession leases/agreements are authorized under the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act of 1976 and managed under policies as outlined in BLM Manual Section (M-2930). The BLM currently manages 16 recreation concessionsagreements along the Lower Colorado River District in California and Arizona. Recreation concessioners currently provide the BLM with approximately $600,000 in lease/franchise fees each year of which 100 percent is reinvested onsite. Recreation concession agreements may be offered to the general public where compatible with resource management objectives and applicable planning documents. Concessions opportunities are also encouraged where they forward the purposes of any special area or unit designation.  In expanding and invigorating the BLM Recreation Concession’s program, maintenance costs can be reduced, revenues increased, opportunities for small businesses in local communities can be provided, and the improvement of associated visitor service and recreation opportunities will be enhanced. 
As joint partners with the BLM, concessioners provide a safe, quality recreational experience for an ever-growing segment of the recreating public by providing developed recreational and retail facilities. Some potential concession opportunities and funding sources may be linked to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus), youth initiatives, and renewable energy projects. Recreation concession facilities have grown in local communities along with visitor demands brought about by the designation of special management areas, and cooperatively, the concessions have contributed to the local, state, and regional economic long-termdevelopment. The relationship of the BLM’s recreation concession program to community growth, and the resultant needs of local tourism-related business, contributes toward the health of gateway communities and provides a fair market value return to the public (see Attachment 3, Recreational Use of Public Lands Administrated by the BLM, Fiscal Year 2009). This Instruction Memorandum is to follow up direction from the ELT.
Manual/Handbook Section Affected: Leases, Permits, and Easements (Manual 2920) and Recreation Permit Administration (Manual 2930) will be updated during their next revisions.
Coordination: This IM was coordinated with Division of National Landscape Conservation System (WO-171), Division of Lands, Realty and Cadastral Survey (WO-350), and Division of Engineering and Asset Management Policy (WO-854).
Contact: If you have any questions concerning this guidance, please contact Phil Walker, BLM National Recreation Concessions Program Manager, Business Practices and Visitor Services Branch (WO-252), by telephone at 202-912-7294 or by e-mail at Phil_walker@blm.gov.
Signed by:                                                        Authenticated by:
Edwin L. Roberson                                            Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director                                             Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Renewable Resources and Planning
3 Attachments:            

Last updated: 04-09-2010