Management of the BLM's Public Lands System The government has control of over one-third of the nation's land, and 398 million acres of that is controlled by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM 6). This land hold a wide diversity of resources, from timber, and grazing lands found on the surface to a mass of oil, natural gas, and minerals laying below the earth. The history of these lands is hardly a dull story, because it is the story of the taming of the Wild West. Should the BLM though, still be controlling these lands under the same laws that where put in affect to establish the “Western Frontier.” I feel that a radical reevaluation of these laws needs to take place, in order to adapt them to the changing demographic and technological environment of our society.
The laws that are remaining are allowing companies to hurt the land, which is against the mission statement of the BLM. The BLM mission statement say, the Bureau is responsible for the balanced management of the public lands and resources and their various values so that they are considered in a combination that will best serve the American people. Management is based upon the principles of multiple use and sustained yield; a combination of uses that takes into account the long-term needs of future generations for renewable and nonrenewable resources. These resources include recreation, land, timber, minerals, watershed, fish and wildlife, wilderness, and natural, scenic, scientific and cultural values. (BLM 7). Therefor by allowing these old laws to remain they are pulling away from there mission statement.
Throughout the 80's the Bureau of Land Management developed a host of programs and emphasized a number of others - outdoor recreation, wildlife and fisheries, toxic materials management, and wetland enhancement, to name a few - but there are still many problems that must be addressed. Due to the increasing demand for outdoor recreation, there has been an overcrowding in our local, state, and national park.
There is the demand for BLM to do more in outdoor recreation. Eight of the 10 states with the highest population growth between 1970 and 1980 were states with substantial acreages of public lands administer by the BLM. (BLM 12) The visitation to those lands has increased nearly three-fold in the past 20 years, and there is an expected increase of between 40 and 60 percent by the year 2000. (BLM 12)
The amount of people that visit our park system each year is having a profound effect on the ecosystem of the park. An ecosystem can only absorb the effects of a small number of man made facilities on it. The number of large complexes that the public wants in their parks have effects that extend beyond there immediate boundaries. Yellowstone Park has to dispose of nearly 7000 tons of garbage every year. (Houston 3) The BLM needs to expand efforts to maintain facilities to protect public investments and the health and safety of the visiting public. Also, provide additional facilities with Federal funding and private sector concessions to meet the growing outdoor recreation demands.
This would allow more destinations for the public that are seeking an outdoor experience, causing the crowding to become less dense because the users would be more widely distributed. Setting more public lands aside for parks would preserve that land for the future, because a park on BLM lands would require a greater on-the-ground presence, to monitor its use. A problem that is closely related to that of outdoor recreation, is providing a suitable habitat for the large diversity of animals that lives on the BLM's Public Lands System. Many of these animals are available to the hunter, trapper and fisherman; some are threatened or endangered; most contribute to the pleasure of wildlife viewing; all contribute to the ecological diversity of...