Public Lands Briefing Book for 111th Congress

Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Book Cover

With Congress back in session, our staff and policy experts have been working full-speed with members of the presidential transition team and with members of Congress to prepare them on steps they can quickly take to right many of the environmental wrongs of the past eight years.

Much can be done to better manage our nation’s public lands, from securing sweeping wilderness protection to promoting a major initiative to create green jobs to combat global warming and setting aside funding for combating wildfires outside the U.S. Forest Service budget. To help educate new members of Congress on our nation’s public land management system, our staff is busy delivering our new briefing book to Capital Hill.

We hope you too find this to be a useful resource for understanding the most important land management issues confronting our new leadership.

Dear Member of Congress:

I am pleased to present to you this briefing book on America’s federal public lands and the agencies that manage them. I believe you will find it extremely useful as a reference tool. It briefly describes the history of our country’s National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, National Parks, Bureau of Land Management lands and the key laws guiding the agencies that manage these lands. It also touches on what we believe are the most important federal land-management issues facing the 111th Congress.

This letter accompanied a briefing book on public lands issues prepared by The Wilderness Society for members of the 111th Congress and their staff. Materials provided to Congress are available for download below.

Founded in 1935, The Wilderness Society's mission is to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. The Wilderness Society is the only national conservation organization devoted exclusively to federal public lands issues. Our membership and online activists (more than 330,000 Americans) hear from us regularly about the issues outlined here, and their commitment to protecting these lands is demonstrated by their frequent contact with Congress and administrative agencies.

If you are unfamiliar with the work of the Society, this book provides a good introduction. It contains the kind of information and analysis that Members of Congress and land-management professionals have come to rely on from us.

Protecting America’s public lands is truly a bipartisan issue, and I hope you will look to The Wilderness Society as both a resource and partner as you tackle the complex land management challenges on the horizon.

At the front of the book (See section 1) you will find a directory of key Wilderness Society staff and their areas of expertise. In addition to policy experts, we also boast a wide number of economists and ecologists who specialize in land management issues. Please call on them or me whenever you have a need. Thank you.


William H. Meadows

Congressional Briefing Book Contents

Complete Congressional Briefing Book

Wilderness Society Staff Contacts

Public Lands Overview

Our Issues

Glossary of Public Lands Terms and Acronyms