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Interpretation Program

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) interpretive program supports the Bureau’s mission and goals by serving customers; promoting the health of the land; and enhancing the public’s enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of the public land’s natural and cultural resources and their management. The program communicates how the BLM manages resources and provides opportunities for public use, and fosters an understanding of the relationships between people and the public lands. As a result of BLM’s interpretive program, the public are better informed public land stewards while enjoying the public lands.

Pompey's Pillar National Monument Interpretive Center - Billings, MT Field Office
The National Association for Interpretation in 2000 defined interpretation as “… a communication process that forges emotional and intellectual connections between the interests of the audience and the inherent meanings in the resource." For the BLM, interpretation may be performed at dedicated interpretation centers, audio tours, other electronic media, or at a host of other BLM recreation, natural or cultural sites.  Interpretation is delivered in a variety of ways, including guided walks, talks, living history demonstrations, staffed stations, exhibits and displays, signs, brochures.

The BLM interpretive program reaches out to dispersed visitors across diverse landscapes and serves visitors who are exploring many facets of the public lands. Many of these efforts are accomplished in partnership with other land management agencies, and involve local communities. Interpretive programs at BLM’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (Utah); Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument (California); and Anasazi Heritage Center (Colorado) are places where this is occurring. Other examples of BLM interpretive programs include the following:
  • BLM uses wayside exhibits to help dispersed visitors better understand the resources while they explore the public lands. BLM has wayside exhibits along the Pony Express trail, the Dalton Highway in Alaska, and many backcountry byways distributed throughout public lands.
  • BLM uses living history programs to tell the story of the travelers along historic trails. These programs most generally occur at established visitor centers, such as the National Trails Visitor Center in Casper, WY; the Oregon Trails Visitor Center in Baker City, Oregon; and the Pompeys Pillar Visitor Center in Billings, Montana.
  • Other staff-led BLM interpretive programs include special tours for visitors during the wild flower seasons in California; geology presentations and tours in Idaho; and many other programs to share the stories of the resources with the visitors.                                                                                                                                                                  

Emigrant Camp Reenactment - National Historic Trails Interpretive Center - Casper, WY Field Office
Outreach & Partnerships

By partnering with other organizations and government agencies, BLM shares costs and more effectively delivers interpretive products and services to the public. Following are two such examples:
National Association for Interpretation (NAI) – BLM works closely with the National Association for Interpretation (NAI), the primary professional organization for interpreters. BLM, through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), has entered into a formal partnership with NAI to support both their interpreter training program and the production of training materials.   Under this MOU, both the BLM and U.S. Forest Service incorporate the NAI certification program into their staff interpretive training.
Association for Partners of Public Lands (APPL) – BLM also works closely with the Association for Partners of Public Lands (APPL). APPL is the umbrella group for non-profit interpretive associations that are established to support government agencies’ interpretive and educational programs. APPL member associations cooperate with Federal agencies, including BLM, under formal, signed agreements to provide interpretive programs, services and materials to interpretive center and recreation area visitors.  These interpretive associations sell books, brochures and other educational interpretive materials in BLM visitor centers in support of the BLM interpretive program. BLM has an agreement with APPL for them to train BLM staff on how to participate effectively in interpretation partnership programs.
For information on other BLM Recreation Partnerships, click here
Follow this link to view a list of BLM interpretive and visitor centers
Specific policy guidance for BLM’s interpretive program is primarily contained in two recreation and visitor services strategy documents. Follow this link for information and links to Intepretation Program guidance documents.
BLM Contact

Brianna Candelaria
National Lead for Interpretation