Washington, D.C. – November 15, 2023 – Today, the Foundation for America’s Public Lands, the official charitable partner of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), released a report to help the BLM improve recreational experiences across the wide diversity of public lands and waters they manage. The report, titled “Opportunities for Action: A Synthesis from Roundtables in Support of the Bureau of Land Management’s Blueprint for 21st Century Outdoor Recreation,” summarizes insights from over 120 expert organizations and outlines responsive actions for the BLM to improve partnerships, build a more inclusive culture, and help address challenges to ensure present and future generations can access and enjoy public lands.
The report builds upon the agency’s new “Blueprint for 21st Century Outdoor Recreation,” which was released in August. The Blueprint established a fresh BLM vision to enhance recreational opportunities and reduce negative impacts on the lands and waters the agency manages in response to a rising demand for visitation and recreational experiences on public lands. As part of one of its inaugural programs after launching operations in 2022, the Foundation worked alongside the BLM to convene partners and ensure the Blueprint aligns with the needs of the communities it serves.
“For so many of us, recreation is the spark that first ignited our love for public lands,” said Foundation CEO I Ling Thompson. “This new report makes clear that nationwide, more people than ever are seeking to recreate on public lands. It also underscores that BLM cannot accomplish its goals with the resources it currently has. Thanks to our partners, this report provides a collaborative roadmap for how for the Bureau can provide unmatched recreational experiences to bring individuals closer to these incredible places, all while underscoring where it needs more resources and the right policies to meet the demand.”
Key opportunities for action identified in the partner roundtables include:
- Invest in the people and systems needed to make the BLM a partnering agency;
- Work with partners to advance near-term actions;
- Clearly articulate what is needed to implement the Blueprint;
- Prioritize early wins to improve access and foster a culture of inclusion;
- Streamline planning and decision-making to meet urgent needs; and
- Develop and scale collaborative recreation approaches with partners and the BLM to demonstrate models for success.
“More and more people are discovering the incredible opportunities public lands have to offer, and this report is a direct response to that,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “BLM is grateful to work with partners who are committed to ensuring our public lands and waters will be cherished for years to come.”
Recreation opportunities on BLM lands annually contribute more than $11 billion in economic output and support more than 70,000 jobs nationwide. In 2022, the agency recorded more than 81 million visits, representing a 40% uptick in use since 2012, with almost a third of that increase occurring since 2020. The BLM’s budget for recreation resources management was $60.2 million in FY 2022, or $0.79 per visitor, compared https://blm.gov/about/data/to $5.20 for the National Park Service and $1.70 for the Forest Service.
In the roundtables, the Foundation invited input from a broad range of recreation interests including motorized and non-motorized; hunters and anglers; businesses; heritage, affinity, and conservation nonprofits; and local, state and Tribal governments. The report underscores the need for strong and sustained partnerships to ensure the BLM has the resources it needs to implement its recreation vision. In the months to come, the Foundation will continue its work with the BLM and partners to build the support needed to make the Blueprint a reality.
The full report and executive summary can be found on the Foundation’s website here.
The Foundation for America’s Public Lands is the official charitable partner of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and works together with the BLM to support its mission. Chartered by Congress in 2017 and officially formed in 2021, the Foundation operates and raises private funds independent of the BLM to help raise awareness, increase access, and inspire stewardship of more than 245 million acres of U.S. public lands and waters. Find out more at www.americaslands.org.