The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior that administers more than 247.3 million acres (1,001,000 km2) of public lands in the United States which constitutes one eighth of the landmass of the country. President Harry S. Truman created the BLM in 1946 by combining two existing agencies: the General Land Office and the Grazing Service. The agency manages the federal government's nearly 700 million acres (2,800,000 km2) of subsurface mineral estate located beneath federal, state and private lands severed from their surface rights by the Homestead Act of 1862. Most BLM public lands are located in these 12 western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
The mission of the BLM is "to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations." Originally BLM holdings were described as "land nobody wanted" because homesteaders had passed them by. All the same, ranchers hold nearly 18,000 permits and leases for livestock grazing on 155 million acres (630,000 km2) of BLM public lands. The agency manages 221 wilderness areas, 27 national monuments and some 636 other protected areas as part of the National Conservation Lands (formerly known as the National Landscape Conservation System), totaling about 36 million acres (150,000 km2). In addition the National Conservation Lands include nearly 2,400 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers, and nearly 6,000 miles of National Scenic and Historic Trails. There are more than 63,000 oil and gas wells on BLM public lands. Total energy leases generated approximately $5.4 billion in 2013, an amount divided among the Treasury, the states, and Native American groups.
|Bureau of Land Management|
Bureau of Land Management Triangle
Flag of the Bureau of Land Management
|Jurisdiction||United States federal government|
|Headquarters||Main Interior Building|
1849 C Street NW Room 5665, Washington, D.C., U.S. 20240
|Employees||11,621 Permanent and 30,860 Volunteer (FY 2012)|
|Annual budget||$1,162,000,000 (FY 2014 operating)|
|Parent agency||U.S. Department of the Interior|
The BLM's roots go back to the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. These laws provided for the survey and settlement of the lands that the original 13 colonies ceded to the federal government after the American Revolution. As additional lands were acquired by the United States from Spain, France and other countries, the United States Congress directed that they be explored, surveyed, and made available for settlement. During the Revolutionary War, military bounty land was promised to soldiers who fought for the colonies. After the war, the Treaty of Paris of 1783, signed by the United States, England, France, and Spain, ceded territory to the United States. In the 1780s, other states relinquished their own claims to land in modern-day Ohio. By this time, the United States needed revenue to function. Land was sold so that the government would have money to survive. In order to sell the land, surveys needed to be conducted. The Land Ordinance of 1785 instructed a geographer to oversee this work as undertaken by a group of surveyors. The first years of surveying were completed by trial and error; once the territory of Ohio had been surveyed, a modern public land survey system had been developed. In 1812, Congress established the General Land Office as part of the Department of the Treasury to oversee the disposition of these federal lands. By the early 1800s, promised bounty land claims were finally fulfilled.
Over the years, other bounty land and homestead laws were enacted to dispose of federal land. Several different types of patents existed. These include cash entry, credit, homestead, Indian, military warrants, mineral certificates, private land claims, railroads, state selections, swamps, town sites, and town lots. A system of local land offices spread throughout the territories, patenting land that was surveyed via the corresponding Office of the Surveyor General of a particular territory. This pattern gradually spread across the entire United States. The laws that spurred this system with the exception of the General Mining Law of 1872 and the Desert Land Act of 1877 have since been repealed or superseded.
In the early 20th century, Congress took additional steps toward recognizing the value of the assets on public lands and directed the Executive Branch to manage activities on the remaining public lands. The Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 allowed leasing, exploration, and production of selected commodities, such as coal, oil, gas, and sodium to take place on public lands. The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 established the United States Grazing Service to manage the public rangelands by establishment of advisory boards that set grazing fees. The Oregon and California Revested Lands Sustained Yield Management Act of 1937, commonly referred as the O&C Act, required sustained yield management of the timberlands in western Oregon.
In 1946, the Grazing Service was merged with the General Land Office to form the Bureau of Land Management within the Department of the Interior. It took several years for this new agency to integrate and reorganize. In the end, the Bureau of Land Management became less focused on land disposal and more focused on the long term management and preservation of the land. The agency achieved its current form by combining offices in the western states and creating a corresponding office for lands both east of and alongside the Mississippi River. As a matter of course, the BLM's emphasis fell on activities in the western states as most of the mining, land sales, and federally owned areas are located west of the Mississippi.
BLM personnel on the ground have typically been oriented toward local interests, while bureau management in Washington are led by presidential guidance. By means of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, Congress created a more unified bureau mission and recognized the value of the remaining public lands by declaring that these lands would remain in public ownership. The law directed that these lands be managed with a view toward "multiple use" defined as "management of the public lands and their various resource values so that they are utilized in the combination that will best meet the present and future needs of the American people."
Since the Reagan years of the 1980s, Republicans have often given priority to local control and to grazing, mining and petroleum production, while Democrats have more often emphasized environmental concerns even when granting mining and drilling leases. In September 1996, then President Bill Clinton used his authority under the Antiquities Act to establish the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah, the first of now 20 national monuments established on BLM lands and managed by the agency. The establishment of Grand Staircase-Escalante foreshadowed later creation of the BLM's National Landscape Conservation System in 2000. Use of the Antiquities Act authority, to the extent it effectively scuttled a coal mine to have been operated by Andalex Resources, delighted recreation and conservation enthusiasts but set up larger confrontations with state and local authorities.
Established in 2000, the National Landscape Conservation System is overseen by the BLM. The National Landscape Conservation System lands constitute just about 12% of the lands managed by the BLM. Congress passed Title II of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-11) to make the system a permanent part of the public lands protection system in the United States. By designating these areas for conservation, the law directed the BLM to ensure these places are protected for future generations, similar to national parks and wildlife refuges.
|Category||Unit Type||Number||BLM acres||BLM miles|
|National Conservation Lands||National Monuments||27||5,590,135 acres (22,622.47 km2)|
|National Conservation Lands||National Conservation Areas||16||3,671,519 acres (14,858.11 km2)|
|National Conservation Lands||Areas Similar to National Conservation Areas||5||436,164 acres (1,765.09 km2)|
|Wilderness||Wilderness Areas||221||8,711,938 acres (35,255.96 km2)|
|Wilderness||Wilderness Study Areas||528||12,760,472 acres (51,639.80 km2)|
|National Wild and Scenic Rivers||National Wild and Scenic Rivers||69||1,001,353 acres (4,052.33 km2)||2,423 miles (3,899 km)|
|National Trails System||National Historic Trails||13||5,078 miles (8,172 km)|
|National Trails System||National Scenic Trails||5||683 miles (1,099 km)|
|Totals||877||About 36 million acres (150,000 km2) (some units overlap)||8,184 miles (13,171 km)|
Source: BLM Resources and Statistics
The BLM, through its Office of Law Enforcement & Security, functions as a federal law enforcement agency of the United States Government. BLM law enforcement rangers and special agents receive their training through Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC). Full-time staffing for these positions approaches 300.
Uniformed rangers enforce laws and regulations governing BLM lands and resources. As part of that mission, these BLM rangers carry firearms, defensive equipment, make arrests, execute search warrants, complete reports and testify in court. They seek to establish a regular and recurring presence on a vast amount of public lands, roads and recreation sites. They focus on the protection of natural and cultural resources, other BLM employees and visitors. Given the many locations of BLM public lands, these rangers use canines, helicopters, snowmobiles, dirt bikes and boats to perform their duties.
By contrast BLM special agents are criminal investigators who plan and conduct investigations concerning possible violations of criminal and administrative provisions of the BLM and other statutes under the United States Code. Special agents are normally plain clothes officers who carry concealed firearms, and other defensive equipment, make arrests, carry out complex criminal investigations, present cases for prosecution to local United States Attorneys and prepare investigative reports. Criminal investigators occasionally conduct internal and civil claim investigations.
The BLM manages free-roaming horses and burros on public lands in ten western states. Though they are feral, the agency is obligated to protect them under the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (WFRHBA). As the horses have few natural predators, populations have grown substantially. WFRHBA as enacted provides for the removal of excess animals; the destruction of lame, old, or sick animals; the private placement or adoption of excess animals; and even the destruction of healthy animals if range management required it. In fact, the destruction of healthy or unhealthy horses has almost never occurred. Pursuant to the Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978, the BLM has established 179 "herd management areas" (HMAs) covering 31.6 million acres (128,000 km2) acres where feral horses can be found on federal lands.
In 1973, BLM began a pilot project on the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range known as the Adopt-A-Horse initiative. The program took advantage of provisions in the WFRHBA to allow private "qualified" individuals to "adopt" as many horses as they wanted if they could show that they could provide adequate care for the animals. At the time, title to the horses remained permanently with the federal government. The pilot project was so successful that BLM allowed it to go nationwide in 1976. The Adopt-a-Horse program quickly became the primary method of removing excess feral horses from BLM land given the lack of other viable methods. The BLM also uses limited amounts of contraceptives in the herd, in the form of PZP vaccinations; advocates say that additional use of these vaccines would help to diminish the excess number of horses currently under BLM management.
Despite the early successes of the adoption program, the BLM has struggled to maintain acceptable herd levels, as without natural predators, herd sizes can double every four years. As of 2014, there were more than 49,000 horses and burros on BLM-managed land, exceeding the BLM's estimated "appropriate management level" (AML) by almost 22,500.
The Bureau of Land Management has implemented several programs and has developed partnerships as part of their management plan for preserving wild burros and horses in the United States. There are several herds of horses and burros roaming free on 26.9 million acres of range spread out in ten western states. It is essential to maintain a balance that keeps herd management land and animal population healthy. Some programs and partnerships include the Mustang Heritage Foundation, U.S. Border Patrol, Idaho 4H, Napa Mustang Days and Little Book Cliffs Darting Team. These partnerships help with adoption and animal population as well as education and raising awareness about wild horses and burros.
In 2009, BLM opened Renewable Energy Coordination Offices in order to approve and oversee wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal projects on BLM-managed lands. The offices were located in the four states where energy companies had shown the greatest interest in renewable energy development: Arizona, California, Nevada, and Wyoming.
Media related to Bureau of Land Management at Wikimedia Commons
Agua Fria National Monument is in the U.S. state of Arizona, approximately 40 miles (65 km) north of downtown Phoenix, Arizona. Created by Presidential proclamation on January 11, 2000, the 72,344-acre (113 sq mi; 293 km2) monument is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Bureau of Land Management already managed the lands; however, under monument status the level of protection and preservation of resources within the new monument have been enhanced.
The monument is a unit of the BLM's National Landscape Conservation System. Over 450 distinct Native American structures have been recorded in the monument, some of large pueblos containing more than 100 rooms each. The enhanced protection status also provides greater habitat protection for the numerous plant and animal communities.Bonneville Salt Flats
The Bonneville Salt Flats is a densely packed salt pan in Tooele County in northwestern Utah. The area is a remnant of the Pleistocene Lake Bonneville and is the largest of many salt flats located west of the Great Salt Lake. The property is public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management and is known for land speed records at the "Bonneville Speedway". Access to the flats is open to the public.Browns Canyon National Monument
Browns Canyon National Monument is a 21,586 acres (33.7 sq mi; 87.4 km2) national monument in Chaffee County, Colorado that was designated as such by President Barack Obama under the Antiquities Act on February 19, 2015. The site will be centered along the Arkansas River between Buena Vista and Salida. Browns Canyon is the most popular destination for whitewater rafting in the country, and is also known for its fishing and hiking. The monument will provide habitat protection for bighorn sheep, peregrine falcons, elk, and golden eagles.Designation of the monument was requested by numerous Colorado lawmakers, including Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, Representative Joel Hefley and Governor John Hickenlooper. It was opposed by Representatives Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn, who objected to the president's use of executive action in declaring the monument. Lamborn also objected to the effect that the monument's creation would have on grazing, mineral and water rights; in response the White House stated that the designation would honor "valid and existing rights, but withdraws the area from future mineral leasing." The monument will be run jointly by the Bureau of Land Management and United States Forest Service.California Coastal National Monument
The California Coastal National Monument is located along the entire coastline of the U.S. state of California. This monument ensures the protection of all islets, reefs and rock outcroppings along the coast of California within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of shore along the entire 840-mile (1,350 km) long coastline. Conservative estimates are for at least 20,000 such outcroppings. The monument was created from Bill Clinton by Presidential proclamation on January 11, 2000 with the authority in section two of the Antiquities Act of 1906. As of 2014, the monument has expanded to 2,272 acres (919 ha). The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior that manages the monument, has developed gateways in cooperation with other agencies along the California coast to introduce the monument to the public. These include the Trinidad Gateway, Point Arena Gateway, Fort Bragg-Mendocino Gateway, Pigeon Point Gateway, Piedras Blancas-San Simeon Gateway, and Palos Verdes Peninsula Gateway. The California Coastal National Monument is one of the most-viewed national monuments in California although people are usually not aware that they are viewing a national monument.Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is a national monument protecting an archaeologically-significant landscape located in the southwestern region of the U.S. state of Colorado. The monument's 176,056 acres (71,247 ha) are managed by the Bureau of Land Management, as directed in the Presidential proclamation which created the site on June 9, 2000. Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is part of the National Landscape Conservation System, better known as the National Conservation Lands. This system comprises 32 million acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management to conserve, protect, and restore these nationally significant landscapes recognized for their outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values. Canyons of the Ancients encompasses and surrounds three of the four separate sections of Hovenweep National Monument, which is administered by the National Park Service. The monument was proclaimed in order to preserve the largest concentration of archaeological sites in the United States, primarily Ancestral Puebloan ruins. As of 2005, over 6,000 individual archeological sites had been identified within the monument.Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area
The Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area is a 209,610-acre (848.3 km2) National Conservation Area located in western Colorado southeast of Grand Junction and northwest of Montrose. It is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and was created as part of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009. In 2009 66,280 acres (26,820 ha) were also designated as the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness.
The Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area (NCA) encompasses canyons along the Uncompahgre Plateau along the Gunnison River. The southwest side of the NCA borders Uncompahgre National Forest. There are several trails and campsites in the NCA.Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument
Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument (sometimes referred to as Parashant National Monument) is located on the northern edge of the Grand Canyon in northwest Arizona. The monument was established by Presidential Proclamation 7265 on January 11, 2000.Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) is a United States national monument that originally designated 1,880,461 acres (7,610 km2) of protected land in southern Utah in 1996. The monument's size was later reduced by a succeeding presidential proclamation in 2017. The land is among the most remote in the country; it was the last to be mapped in the contiguous United States.There are three main regions: the Grand Staircase, the Kaiparowits Plateau, and the Canyons of the Escalante (Escalante River). All regions are administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as part of the National Conservation Lands system. President Bill Clinton designated the area as a national monument in 1996 using his authority under the Antiquities Act. Grand Staircase-Escalante is the largest national monument managed by the BLM.
On December 4, 2017, President Donald Trump ordered that the monument's size be reduced by nearly 47 percent to 1,003,863 acres (4,062 km2), with the remainder broken up into three separate areas, two of which border one another along the Paria River. Conservation, angling, hunting, and outdoor recreation groups have filed suit to block any reduction in the national monument, arguing that the president has no legal authority to materially shrink a national monument.Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area
The Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area is a 62,844-acre (254.32 km2) National Conservation Area located in west-central Colorado near Montrose. It is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as part of the National Landscape Conservation System. 57,725 acres (233.60 km2) were designated in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-76). The Black Canyon of the Gunnison Boundary Revision Act of 2003 (PL 108-78) expanded the NCA to its current size.Kokopelli Trail
The Kokopelli's Trail is a 142-mile (229 km) multi-use trail in the Western U.S. states of Colorado and Utah. The trail was named in honor of its mythic muse, Kokopelli. The trail was created by the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association (COPMOBA) in cooperation with the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the United States Forest Service (NFS) in 1989.Mojave Trails National Monument
Mojave Trails National Monument is a large U.S. National Monument located in the state of California between Interstates 15 and 40. It partially surrounds the Mojave National Preserve. It was designated by President Obama on February 12, 2016 along with Castle Mountains National Monument and Sand to Snow National Monument. It is under the control of the Bureau of Land Management.National Conservation Area
National Conservation Area is a designation for certain protected areas in the United States. They are nature conservation areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under the National Landscape Conservation System.
Restrictions vary between these conservation areas, but generally they are not leased or sold under mining laws and motorized vehicle use is restricted, unlike many other BLM areas.National monument (United States)
In the United States, a national monument is a protected area that is similar to a national park, but can be created from any land owned or controlled by the federal government by proclamation of the President of the United States.
National monuments can be managed by one of several federal agencies: the National Park Service, United States Forest Service, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (in the case of marine national monuments). Historically, some national monuments were managed by the War Department.National monuments can be so designated through the power of the Antiquities Act of 1906. President Theodore Roosevelt used the act to declare Devils Tower in Wyoming as the first U.S. national monument.Raven Ridge
Raven Ridge is a starkly visible sedimentary rock exposure located in Rio Blanco County, Colorado and Uintah County, Utah, USA. It is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The ridge contains a diverse selection of rare plants unique to the state of Colorado.Recapture Canyon
Recapture Canyon is a canyon along Recapture Creek (a tributary of the San Juan River) east of Blanding, San Juan County, Utah, United States. It is an archaeological site, and is located on federal land. The Bureau of Land Management closed it to motorized vehicles in 2007 due to damage caused by illegal trail construction.Recapture Canyon contains dwellings, burial sites, and artifacts of the Ancient Pueblo peoples, including cliff dwellings built between 1150 and 1300 AD.On Saturday May 10, 2014, San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman organized a protest aimed at legally opening the trail to all-terrain vehicles. The protest attracted several militia members from the Bundy ranch. BLM undercover agents documented the illegal ride and are investigating potential damage to archaeological resources.Rice Valley Wilderness
The Rice Valley Wilderness is a wilderness area near Blythe and Rice in the Mojave Desert region of California, managed by the Bureau of Land Management.The 41,777-acre wilderness includes portions of the Big Maria Mountains, along with a stretch of sand dunes that is part of one of the state's largest dune systems. Congress designated the area as part of the 1994 California Desert Protection Act.Riverside Mountains
The Riverside Mountains are a mountain range in Riverside County, California. The town of Vidal, California is located in the West Riverside Mountains.Sisyphus Shelter
Sisyphus Shelter is an archaeological site that was uncovered in Colorado when the Colorado Department of Highways was working on I-70. The excavation of this site became a joint project between the Colorado Department of Highways and the Bureau of Land Management. Fieldwork on the site was completed in 1980. Archaeologists John Gooding and Wm. Lane Shields as well as many others completed the excavation and prepared a comprehensive site report. Over the course of the fieldwork on Sisyphus Shelter, twenty-six features of human origin were discovered as well as numerous stone artifacts and two perishable items. The artifacts appeared to be all Late Archaic in origin. Dating indicated a range of occupations from modern times to 4400 B.P. being the oldest sample. Gooding and Shields (1985) suggest that the occupations of the shelter were not consistent and affected by seasonal changes.United States National Forest
National Forest is a classification of protected and managed federal lands in the United States. National Forests are largely forest and woodland areas owned collectively by the American people through the federal government, and managed by the United States Forest Service, a division of the United States Department of Agriculture.
|Directors of the BLM 1946–present|
|Fred W. Johnson||1946–1948|
|Burton W. Silcock||1971–1973|
|Robert F. Burford||1981–1989|
1994 – 1996
|Robert Abbey||2009 – 2012|
|Neil Kornze||(Acting 2013–2014)|
|Kristin Bail||(Acting 2017 – 2017)|
|Michael Nedd||(Acting 2017 -)|
|National Geologic Trail|
|National Historic Trails|
|National Scenic Trails|
|National Water Trails|
|National Recreation Trails|
Agencies under the United States Department of the Interior
|Department of Commerce|
|Department of Defense|
Health and Human Services
|Department of Justice|
|Department of State|
|Department of Transportation|
|Department of the Treasury|
|United States Congress|
|Other federal law|
|Department of the Interior|
|Department of Commerce|
|Department of Energy|
|Department of Agriculture|
|Department of Homeland Security|
|Department of Health |
and Human Services
|Department of Defense|