Last Thursday, the U.S. Department of the Interior released a Secretarial Order that will help prevent the sale of public lands important to outdoor recreation, while ensuring that public access be a key consideration in land exchanges. NMMA and its outdoor recreation coalition partners applauded the action, calling the move a big win for the community.
Secretarial Order 3373 – Evaluating Public Access in BLM Land Disposals and Exchanges – prioritizes recreation and access when Bureau of Land Management (BLM) parcels are being considered for disposal, exchange and acquisition under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). Since FLPMA was enacted in 1976, remote BLM parcels have been identified for disposal or exchange for what have been deemed more “high-quality” parcels. While this tool allows BLM to manage higher priority areas, before today there was never a directive ensuring that remote BLM parcels important to recreation access were not exchanged or disposed.
“With this announcement we anticipate that more public lands with recreation assets will remain public and new areas will be identified for recreation access,” said Jessica Wahl, Executive Director of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “Access is key to jobs and local economies, especially in rural communities. We appreciate Interior’s attention to the important relationship between the recreation economy and our public lands and waters.”