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New report aims to help BLM achieve recreation goals

The Fisher Towers near Moab, Utah
Bob Wick
Bureau of Land Management
The Fisher Towers near Moab, Utah

The Bureau of Land Management is hoping to implement what it calls the Blueprint for 21st Century Recreation, and a new report identifies ways to achieve those goals.

The BLM manages 245 million acres, and the blueprint lays out ambitious plans for recreation on that land. That includes diversifying resources to support recreation, developing partnerships and making access more inclusive.

That comes as visitation is increasing and budgets aren’t keeping pace, said I Ling Thompson, director of the Foundation for America’s Public Lands, the BLM’s official charitable arm.

The foundation recently organized roundtables to discuss the BLM’s plans with dozens of recreation groups, businesses and local, state and tribal government representatives.

“Everyone that came and participated in these sessions recognized that the bureau is trying to run this strategy on a shoestring budget,” Thompson said.

The Foundation put out a report this month with recommendations, like setting up a dedicated partnership office within the bureau.

“There are people who care very deeply about particular places the BLM manages, and it gives them a chance to have input into how it's managed over time, as well as to actually do and implement that management,” Thompson said.

Participants shared frustrations with the BLM’s slow infrastructure planning process. They also recommended better outreach to underrepresented communities and a push for more appropriations.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

As Boise State Public Radio's Mountain West News Bureau reporter, I try to leverage my past experience as a wildland firefighter to provide listeners with informed coverage of a number of key issues in wildland fire. I’m especially interested in efforts to improve the famously challenging and dangerous working conditions on the fireline.

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