Cabezon Creek WSA, NM
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BLM's Responsibilities 

Over the past several years, the Western States have experienced rapid growth and development, and the public lands have been increasingly used for outdoor recreation and tourism. Many rural communities are reliant on tourism to sustain their economies. As a result, the management of the scenic values of public lands has become a much more important aspect of natural resource management to BLM.

BLM’s responsibility to manage the scenic resources of the public lands is established by law:

  • The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) states, “...public lands will be managed in a manner which will protect the quality of the scenic (visual) values of these lands.”
  • The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) requires that measures be taken to “...assure for all Americans...aesthetically pleasing surroundings....”

BLM a basic stewardship responsibility to identify and protect visual values on all BLM lands. This policy is described in BLM Manual Section 8400 - Visual Resource Management. BLM has reemphasized this policy in various other internal directives as well, including Information Bulletin No. 98-135, Information Bulletin No. 98-135 attachment 1,  Instruction Memorandum No. 98-164. and Instruction Memorandum No. 2009-167.

This responsibility is reinforced by BLM’s mission statement:

“It is the mission of the Bureau of Land Management to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.”