BLM Protection

The wildlands, wildlife, clean air and pristine water on America’s public lands need careful management and some places require special protection.

The threats

Our western lands face increased pressure from climate change, population growth, misuse and energy development, so it is more important than ever to put in place plans that protect some of America’s last great wild lands and wildlife for future generations.

The most unspoiled and fastest growing region our country continues to be the western United States. Families are drawn to the clean environment, open spaces and recreation opportunities offered by public lands from the Rocky Mountains to the California coastlines.

Benefits of protecting BLM lands

Protected public lands produce measurable benefits in terms of employment and personal income for communities. Mining, logging, oil and gas development, farming and ranching are no longer the only economic drivers in the West. Research has shown that real per capita income in isolated rural counties with protected land grows faster than in isolated counties without any protected lands.

What we are doing

The BLM is obligated by law to “protect certain public lands in their natural condition,” to inventory the resources of the public lands and to make decisions about which uses are appropriate on which lands. 

The Wilderness Society's BLM land protection efforts focus on:

  • Identifying and protecting wilderness areas
  • Protecting habitat for imperiled species like the greater sage-grouse and for other iconic wildlife, like elk and pronghorn antelope
  • Evaluating and addressing the impacts of climate change to our public lands by engaging in Rapid Ecological Assessments
  • Ensuring that oil and gas development is kept out of sensitive areas, including lands with wilderness characteristics
  • Guiding renewable energy development to appropriate places
  • Applying and developing scientific approaches to management and conservation

Future wilderness

Millions of acres of public lands deserve protection as designated wilderness. We push the BLM to make the right decisions about these lands. 

Protecting Sage-Grouse habitats

For centuries, a vibrant sagebrush landscape covered the western United States. Today wildlife that depend on the sagebrush, especially sage-grouse birds, are threatened. We're working with the Bureau of Lands Mangement to save these fascinating birds. 

Rapid ecological assessments

Because BLM lands are impacted by climate change and other environmental changes, the BLM has launched ecoregional assessments to improve their understanding of of the changes. 





  • Neil Shader

    A report on landscape-based mitigation released by the Interior Department Energy and Climate Change Task Force, “A Strategy for Improving the Mitigation Policies and Practices of The Department of the Interior,”  provides a blueprint for better protection for fish, wildlife, recreation and wild land values for the tens of millions of acres of public lands open to oil and gas and other energy development.

  • Michael Reinemer

    This weekend, veterans from around the West will be visiting the rolling, boulder-strewn landscape of the Dragoon Mountains south of Tucson to participate in a writing workshop that will guide them on skills needed to create narratives of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry that is informed both by their service experiences and the natural environment.

  • Neil Shader

    The following statement on the confirmation of Neil Kornze to be the Director of the Bureau of Land Management can be attributed to Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society.