Final Public Lands Rule Will Elevate Conservation on Public Lands

For Immediate Release

April 18, 2024 

Contact: Thomas Plank, 303-720-0111 [email protected] 

Final Public Lands Rule Will Elevate Conservation on Public Lands 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the voice for our wild public lands, waters, and wildlife, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) applauded the Public Lands Rule finalized today by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recognizing conservation in public land management as a value on par with other uses. The rule represents a long overdue acknowledgement of the tremendous value of fish and wildlife habitat and recognition that BLM land holdings are owned by all Americans. 

The BLM stewards 245 million acres of public lands that include significant habitat and ecological resources upon which hunters and anglers rely for opportunities to pursue their outdoor passions. The rule clarifies that the management of these public lands for conservation is a valid use and should be considered as such under the multiple-use and sustained yield framework of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.

“When implemented, the rule will provide tremendous long-term conservation and recreational benefits on land stewarded by the BLM that finally represents the interest of more Americans,” said Patrick Berry, BHA’s President and CEO. “We thank the Biden administration and the leadership within the Department of the Interior for their commitment to ensuring our public lands are managed in a balanced way that properly recognizes the value of conservation.” 

The rule directs the BLM to consider land health assessments in decision-making, a goal that enables the agency to make informed choices for the long-term management of the landscape. Managing for landscape health will increase the resilience of public lands and waters in response to climate change, ensure the conservation of critical habitat, and plan management in a way that addresses the needs of local communities, states, and Tribes. The rule also emphasizes the role of Areas of Critical Environmental Concern where special management attention is required to protect vulnerable landscapes. 

“Hunters and anglers support the Public Lands Rule because it will prioritize important active management prescriptions to tackle invasive species, restore degraded lands and waters, and conserve intact habitats critical to wildlife corridors,” said Kaden McArthur, BHA’s Government Relations Manager. “With less than 15% of BLM lands currently managed for conservation, this is a critical step forward to properly balancing the use of our largest public lands estate.”  

The final rule follows an extended public comment period, including feedback from thousands of hunters and anglers to strengthen and clarify the rule. More than 90% of comments supported the rule, a testament to the importance conservation of wild places has across the United States. 

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers seeks to ensure North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands, waters, and wildlife. 

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