Bureau of Land Management — President Obama today (Monday, March 30) signed into law an omnibus lands bill that enhances protection for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management across the West, including Oregon and Washington. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar hailed the bill as a “milestone for the stewardship of America’s natural wonders. This legislation is the product of years of work in hundreds of communities across America, where citizens, elected officials, stakeholders and land managers have forged wise protections for our treasured landscapes that will boost local economies while protecting traditional ways of life. The conservation areas, wild lands, and open spaces protected through this landmark legislation will be a proud legacy for generations to come.”
The bill’s BLM land designations include Wilderness Areas in California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah; four new National Conservation Areas in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah; one new National Monument in New Mexico; and new Wild and Scenic River designations in Idaho, California, and Utah.
The legislation, cleared for the President’s signature after passage by the U.S. House on a 285140 vote last week, also codifies the BLM’s administratively created National Landscape Conservation System, which consists of 850 Federally recognized areas covering 27 million acres of BLM-managed land.
In Oregon, the legislation designates four new wilderness areas on BLM-administered lands:
Badlands (over 29,300 acres east of Bend)
Spring Basin (nearly 6,400 acres on the John Day River)
Soda Mountain (over 24,000 acres in Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument near
BLM portions of the Lower White River Wilderness near Mount Hood (close to 1,100 acres)
These new wilderness areas, totaling nearly 61,000 acres of BLM land in Oregon, bring the Oregon/Washington BLM total to approximately 254,000 acres (with eight wilderness areas in Oregon and one in Washington).
Oregon/Washington BLM State Director Ed Shepard said “BLM in Oregon is fortunate to have some of the most beautiful forests and wildlands in the West. These public lands offer many different recreation opportunities such as hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, rock hounding, or geocaching. Visitors are encouraged to come visit their public lands and learn more about what makes these places so special and unique.”
The legislation also includes small portions of BLM-administered lands in the additions to the Clackamas Wild & Scenic River (BLM currently manages 23 Wild & Scenic Rivers in Oregon), and it designates the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail from Montana to the Olympic Coast, including 9 miles of BLM-administered lands in Washington State.
About the BLM: The BLM manages more land – 256 million acres – than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public
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