This paper looks back at the evolution of the BLM’s conservation mission as a vital part of its mandate, including multiple use, through the agency’s creation and the first fundamental shifts toward retaining public lands for public use and management. The paper will then discuss how the conservation aspect of the agency’s mission developed along with the enactment of keystone environmental laws and the enactment of FLPMA, while continuing to incorporate additional conservation designations. The National Landscape Conservation System is discussed in terms of how the establishment of this entirely new system shows the importance of conservation lands to the BLM, and then in terms of how the National Landscape Conservation System is continuing to incorporate conservation-focused management into BLM’s broader multiple use mandate, the types of management that best embody the mission of the system, and the need for additional guidance to solidify the new system. Finally, the paper looks forward to how the BLM’s conservation mission will continue to grow and how the agency can nurture this growth.
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