State of our Public Lands Policy Briefing Aimed at Restoring Reality to Public Lands Debate

Jan 18, 2011

Washington, D.C.  — Wilderness Society experts gathered today in Washington to help set the stage for efforts to defend America’s public lands. With the 112th Congress swinging into session, the State of the Union address approaching, and new guidance coming from the Department of Interior, public lands will be a growing part of the dialogue on Capitol Hill and across the country.

In a National Press Club briefing, TWS leaders from across the West, including Denver and Alaska, outlined a set of public policy priorities for the coming months. Listen to the full recording of Melanie Beller - Vice President of Policy, Nada Culver - Director of the BLM Action Center in Denver, Nicole Whittington-Evans - Director of the Alaska office, and William H. Meadows - President of The Wilderness Society here.

The following statement can be attributed to Meadows:

“Following a series of meetings across the nation, and continued conversations with folks in western communities, The Wilderness Society recognizes that there is confusion about the management of our public lands. We have long been advocates for multiple uses of our public lands and want to ensure that the government continues to manage these special places in a way that is consistent with the needs and wants of local communities.

We know that these natural treasures are vital to local economies. We will continue to help people understand how fishing, grazing, hunting, hiking, biking, and many other activities bring dollars to local business owners. There are many places that have experienced such benefits, including Taft, California, after designation of Carrizo Plain National Monument.

But this is about more than jobs and the economy. This is about protecting our natural heritage and the laws that have been established to ensure that the Department of Interior manages our lands in ways that benefit a myriad of interests. We will continue to work with Congress, Interior, and the BLM to create an approach that respects our most treasured landscapes. All of us owe that to future generations.”

To hear more about public lands issues, including energy development, wildlands management, the Arctic Refuge, the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska, and climate, visit: