(Washington, D.C.) Recently a draft discussion paper prepared by the Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was released. “Treasured Landscapes: Our Vision Our Values” lays out a plan for careful management of our shared national heritage, including further public land protection. The following statement can be attributed to Bill Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society:
“This year, The Wilderness Society is celebrating our 75th anniversary – a milestone that marks our work to protect our shared public lands for future generations. Over the next 25 years we will continue to work to protect these lands and ensure that we manage them in the most effective ways. The Wilderness Society strongly supports the recommendations offered in the discussion paper on America’s treasured lands. The vision that the BLM outlines will conserve our public lands, and the communities, wildlife and natural resources they sustain and protect.
“This summer, Obama administration officials have been traveling across the United States listening to people’s ideas about conserving our shared lands and waters as part of America’s Great Outdoors initiative. This nation-wide conservation initiative realizes the cooperative public participation highlighted in the memo. The administration is hearing that Americans want to protect our natural heritage so future generations will always have a place to recreate and will continue to benefit from clean drinking water and healthy air.
“As the draft vision notes, it is vital that protecting our public lands be a locally-driven process. We see this in many treasured lands we work to protect, such as Gold Butte in Nevada, Otero Mesa in New Mexico, and Berryessa Snow Mountains in California. There is already strong support for protection of these special places from local citizens, stakeholders and decision makers. We are eager to have further conversations with our partners in these special places and work together with the administration to help shape American public land protection for the future.
“Now more than ever, it is time for the BLM to rise to the challenge of stewardship in the face of unprecedented threats. When I think about the 100th anniversary of The Wilderness Society in 25 years, I think about the work we are doing now to bring about meaningful reforms to BLM lands so that future generations have the chance to enjoy and benefit from their public land heritage. We strongly support this administration’s thinking in the draft vision as a good start and we applaud their efforts to listen to the way Americans are talking about public lands with an ear to the future.”