The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) says it is pumping $9M into its program to improve recreation on its public lands. Not only will recreationists see improvements, says the agency, but the money will mean more jobs.
Windfall leads to $9M to improve recreation
A windfall of funds from the Inflation Reduction Act are the source of the $9 million. BLM says it will hire an additional 30 recreation specialists, from park rangers to outdoor recreation planners. The new hires, says the agency, “promise to make BLM’s recreation program more resilient and able to deliver exceptional and one-of-a kind recreational experiences on public lands.”
40% increase of recreational use in 10 years
BLM could certainly use a little more help. In 2022, more than 81 million visits were recorded on public lands – a 40% increase since 2012, and that number grows each year.
“Demand for outdoor recreation continues to grow, and there are opportunities to improve how we manage sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities on public lands,” said Adam Cramer, CEO of Outdoor Alliance. “A well-managed BLM recreation program will build this sustainable future to meet demand for outdoor recreation, will have economic benefits for local communities, and will help conserve the climate, clean air and water and habitat. This program dovetails with efforts across the Administration to meet the need for recreation while also providing environmental benefits.”
Due to the increase of recreation on public lands, BLM published a new Blueprint for 21st Century Outdoor Recreation in August 2023. “The Blueprint outlines a vision to diversify resource support for recreation; prioritize and embrace partnerships;” says a BLM media release, “expand outreach and establish a culture of inclusion; and meet the demand for recreation, better protect resources, and improve access.”
But look beneath the surface
On the surface, $9M to improve recreation sounds great. However, RVtravel.com writer Randall Brink says there is a disturbing action afoot in the agency. In a recent editorial, Brink points out another agency plan could seriously cripple recreational access, particularly affecting those who take advantage of dispersed camping.
Writing of a new BLM rule, Brink says, “This proposed rule, ominously titled ‘Conservation and Landscape Health,’ has the potential to dramatically curtail access to public lands and, if implemented, would significantly impact the future of boondocking and dispersed camping. The rule would enable the BLM to severely restrict camping on the 245 million acres under its management.” We urge you to read more about it here.