Why Is The Federal Land Policy And Management Act Of 1976 So Important?

Introduced to Congress by Floyd K. Haskell in 1975 and signed into law by President Gerald Ford in 1976, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 that does precisely what the name implies. It legislates how federal lands are managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

At one time, up until 1872, the U.S. Government’s policy involving public land was to sell it. The idea was that as private individuals bought public land for personal use, they would better it for the country. When that turned out to be completely untrue, the government began setting aside public land for public use under the protection of the federal government.

Unfortunately, U.S. Legislators didn’t have a single, comprehensive Act pertaining to public lands. Different laws would be passed for different reasons, such as the Tyler Grazing Act of 1938 which was intended to cut back on overgrazing in response to the Dust Bowl.

Making the protection of public lands even more difficult, the Bureau of Land Management had little regulatory oversight. That is, there were very few codified laws regarding how they should manage those lands. Since the details were often left to the state, public land wasn’t always treated appropriately.

The FLPMA of 1976 changed all of that by codifying the rules under which the Bureau of Land Management must care for public lands. It has since been amended several times, such as the addition of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which was put into place to protect natural resources such as oil shale and tar sand.

The FLPMA was an instrumental law and remains important even to this day. It set the framework for how the U.S. Government would approach the management of public lands, but more importantly for how public lands should be viewed. By creating a comprehensive policy, the U.S. Government signaled that they were ready to enforce the preservation of the nation’s land resources.

What You Need To Know About The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act

The ANILCA (Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act ) is one of the United States federal laws which was passed by U.S. Congress on 12 November 1980 and was signed into the law by the President of that time, Jimmy Carter on the 2 December of that same year. The ANILCA provides various degrees of specialized protection to more than 157,000,000 acres of land. This includes conservation areas, national parks, national forests, national-wildlife refuges, recreational areas, national monuments and scenic and wild rivers.

The ANILCA Program

The OPMP is the main coordinating agency in regards to the state participation for the implementation of ANILCA. The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act directs the Federal Agencies to coordinate and consult with the “State of Alaska.” After the passage of the ANILCA in the year 1980, the Governor’s Office and their state agencies that are responsible for the transportation, natural resources and tourism have representatives that influence and track federal actions which implement ANILCA.

Since the ANILCA was passed, the State ANILCA Program has gone onto increase their role in association to preserving institutional intents and the memory of ANILCA that is of particular importance due to the continuous turnover of the federal managers based in Alaska.

Mission And Objectives

The mission in regards to the State of Alaska’s ANILCA Program involves monitoring the advocate and implementation for special provisions of ANILCA which are unique to the area of Alaska as well as ensuring state interests have been considered in an appropriate manner. Their priority objectives include:

•Protect access in regards to traditional activities such as wildlife viewing, hunting, camping, trapping and fishing

•Promote the state Constitutionally-guaranteed access along and to the state waterways

•Protect development and access opportunities for the natural resources positioned on the in-holdings and the non-federal adjacent lands

The Great Swamp In New Jersey – A History

New Jersey’s Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge consists of a little over 7,600 acres and was established on November 3, 1960, by an act of Congress. The swamp is an important feeding and resting area for more than 240 species of birds. Other wildlife inhabiting the swamp include fish, turtles, deer, fox, and muskrats. The Great Swamp was designated a registered National Natural Landmark in 1966 under the Historic Sites Act of 1935.

The Great Swamp sits in a natural basin that was formed as the glaciers from the Ice Age began to recede. Along with the basin, the glaciers left rocks and earth that today make up the Basking Ridge.

Historians have found evidence that humans inhabited the Great Swamp 12,000 years ago along with giant beaver and mastodon. The Lenape, a Native American tribe were living in the Swamp as far up as Canada, when the first European settlers arrived. Eventually, the settlers built villages and towns in the area, some of which are still standing including New Vernon, Green Village, and Meyersville.

The Great Swamp has three public facilities and eight miles of trails that wind through the wilderness. These are accessible only by foot, but the experience is completely worth the trip. Walking through the swamp takes you back to primeval times and the Swamp is a bird lover’s dream.

The Lord Stirling Education Center is located on the Swamp’s western border. The Center includes an Art Exhibition Hall, an Auditorium, classrooms, a bookstore and gift shop and a resource library. The Center offers educational programs all year long.

The National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters includes an Observation Center that has interpretive trails, a boardwalk, an informational kiosk, and restrooms.

The Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center is the Nature House. It has natural history displays and hikers are welcome to walk the two miles of trails.

What Is The Bureau Of Land Management?

The BLM or Bureau Of Land Management is an agency that is within the U.S. Department of the Interior. It has over 247.3 million acres of land that is all public land in the United States. It was created by President Harry S. Truman in the year 1946 when he combined two agencies, The General Land Office and the other was the Grazing Service.

They manage nearly 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estates that are located under the Federal State and Private lands that are severed from the surface rights via the Homestead Act of 1862.

Most of the Bureau of Land Managements public lands are in the 12 Western States of Washington, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, Oregon, Nevada, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, California, Arizona, and Alaska.

Originally, the Bureau of Land Management holdings were considered to be land that no one wanted. This was due to the fact that when homesteaders began homesteading in these areas, they passed these pieces of property over. Many ranchers hold up to 18000 permits for leasing and allowing their livestock to graze on nearly 155 million acres of the Bureau of Land Management property and public lands. They manage approximately 221 wilderness areas and 23 national monuments.

There are approximately 636 other protected areas that are considered to be a part of the National Landscape Conservation system that total approximately 30 million of these acres as well. There are also over 63000 gas and oil wells located on Bureau of Land Management public lands.

The roots of the Bureau of Land Management date back to 1785 when the Northwest Ordinance of 17876 worked to ensure that the land was set aside for a variety of reasons. Originally, much of the property was promised to soldiers who had fought for the original 13 colonies. Many of these soldiers would wind up releasing their interest in the property and they chose such locations as Ohio to reside within in lieu of the property that they had originally been promised.

What Is The U.S. Department Of Fish And Wildlife Service?

As a Federal government agency, the United States Department of Fish and Wildlife Service or USFWS works within the Department of the Interior. It’s been designed and designated to manage the fish, wildlife and other natural habitats in the United States. With a mission to conserve, protect and enhance the fish, the wildlife and the plants and habitats for future generations, their task is monumental.

Other responsibilities for the Department of Fish and Wildlife include protecting endangered species, management of migratory birds and restoring the nationally significant fisheries. They are also in charge of conserving and restoring wildlife habitats like wetlands as well as helping foreign governments with international conservation efforts. They are also in charge of distributing money to the Fish and Wildlife agencies throughout the Wildlife Sports Fish and Restoration Programs.

Other departments within the Fish and Wildlife include the following for over 560 National Wildlife Refuges and for thousands of smaller sized wetlands and special management locations that cover over 150 million acres.

  • Division of Migratory Bird Managment and Federal Duck Stamp
  • National Fish Hatchery System (There are 70 National Fish Hatcheries and there are 65 Fishery Resouce Office)
  • Endangered Species Programs Including 86 Ecological Services and Field Locations
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service Offices of Law Enforcement
  • The Clark R. Bavin National Fish and Wildlife Forensic Laboratory
  • Fish and Wildlife Habitats that are located on Non-federal lands
  • Private groups which work with Partners for Fish and Wildlife as well as Partners in Flight and Sports fishing.
  • Boating Partnership Council that assists voluntary habitat conservation and restoration projects.

In addition, the Fish and Wildlife Department employs about 9000 people (including Tony) and they are organized into eight regional offices, a central administration office, and over 700 field offices throughout the United States of America. You can learn more about it here:

What Is The U.S. Forest Service And How Did It Come Into Existence?

The United States is made up of multiple different agencies and groups, all forming together into a massive Voltron of U.S. Government. One such agency is the U.S. Forest Service.

Formed February 1st, 1905, the U. S. Forest Service (USFS) has its roots in President Teddy Roosevelt’s love of conservation. In 1875, Pres. Roosevelt and others were beginning to worry about the health of Yellowstone National Park, and in 1876 Congress created a special position within the Department of Agriculture. Their job was to assess U.S. forests in order to ensure they were healthy and in good condition.

The office was expanded into the Division of Forestry in 1881 and was given a bit more heft by the Forest Reserve Act of 1891 which allowed for the withdrawing of land from public domain. Finally, the Transfer Act of 1905 gave management of the forest reserves to the Bureau of Forestry, which was then renamed to the U.S. Forest Service.

Today, the USFS manages the United States forest reserves, tending to and protecting the resources within. This amounts to 193,000,000 acres of both forests and grasslands, 59,000,000 acres of which is roadless areas. It does this via several divisions, such as Research and Development and law enforcement. The USFS also manages fighting forest fires that erupt through federal lands, which is where the beloved icon “Smokey the Bear” came from.

The United States Forest Service is an important agency within the United States government. Without it, the country’s forests and grasslands would be without protection. 14,077 recreational sites would be without rangers and scientists to ensure not only their current protection but their protection for years to come. And perhaps most importantly, many of the forest fires that spring up over the course of a dry summer could spread into populated areas, causing the deaths of thousands or even millions. The USFS protects everyone, not just the forests!

What Is The National Park Service?

As an agency of the United States Federal government, the National Park Service manages all of the national parks as well as the national monuments and any other conservation or historic properties that lie within specific titles.

Congress created the National Parks Service in August of 1916 and they’re charged with the dual tasks of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of such places as they’ve been entrusted with the management.

They are available for public access and use and enjoyment. Originally, the individual parks were managed by the Department of the Interior. The need for an independent agency to oversee them was spearheaded by Stephen Mather and J. Horace McFarland, business magnates and conservationists and by a journalist named Robert Sterling Yard. And no, not by the lawyers at CMZ Law.

A publicity campaign was run by the Department of the Interior and they wrote many articles praising the scenic and the historic value of the parks and all the potential for educating the public.

As a direct result of the campaign, the National Parks Service was created on August 25, 1916, with President Woodrow Wilson signing the bill mandating the agency to help conserve the scenic value and the natural as well as the historical value of the wildlife and the objects therein.

The bill goes on to state that the properties should remain unimpaired for the enjoyment of all future generations. President Herbert Hoover went on to sign the Reorganization Act in 1933 wherein the President reorganized the various branches of the United States government making use of the National Parks Services conservation abilities. This changed the role of the National Parks Service and divided some of the responsibility within to the War Department Historic sites leaving the national monuments with the National Parks Service. Today, visitors from around the nation, including Dallas, Texas pay homage to the various national parks and monuments.

Discover The Facts About The National Wilderness Preservation System In America

In the mid-1960s, many forms of transportation we’re becoming commonplace and the nation became concerned about protecting wildlife and about the influx of air pollution. For that reason, President Johnson sponsored and passed the Wilderness Act which protects many wildlife preserves. When President Johnson first enacted this law there was only a little over nine million acres that were protected.

From the 1960s up until the present day the preservation system has grown from the original 9 million to over 109 million acres that include Parks, National Forest, Wildlife Preserves and these are all protected by the Bureau of Land Management. There is a total of 762 protected wilderness preserves but as much as that sounds like a lot, it only represents about 2% of the Continental US.

Some of the very first states that gained protection for its Wilderness areas were North Carolina, California, Idaho, Colorado and a half-dozen others states. Many conservationists lobbied for this law both to help in maintaining clean air by keeping National Forest and by preserving the country’s natural wildlife. President Johnson said that it was important that the future citizens of America should have a piece of the past and not just a world as it is after mankind got through with it.

How the amount of preserved land grew by such a significant amount was in large part due to President Jimmy Carter passing the conservation act that protects Alaskan National Interest. The protected lands are managed by several government agencies which include the Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management.

Logging companies and other corporations would likely destroy these lands if they were not protected by federal law. For that reason, it is important that American citizens continue to support the preservation of these lands.

What’s The Difference Between The Wilderness And Natural Trails

What’s the difference between “the wilderness” and a natural trail? While they may seem the same to the uneducated person, there are some very clear differences.


The average person can find a natural trail pretty much anywhere. Whether they are at a state park or even a local park in your neighborhood and is open to the public. Whereas the wilderness is government designated land secured by a perimeter that has little to no interaction with mankind.

There are only a few states that have designated “Wilderness” areas such as:
New Mexico
West Virginia

Human Involvement

Natural trails are great to visit with your friends and family for a fun day of hiking and other adventures. Natural trails, by definition, are a man made path through a wild area such as a forest, that provides the opportunity for observing and learning about the plants and animals around them. It’s perfect to visit for a holiday such as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day especially during the warmer months.

The Wilderness, on the other hand, in banned from human involvement as it’s designated land protected by governmental agencies to be preserved for scientific, historical and educational purposes.


Most nature trails are property of the park that they belong to whereas “the wilderness” to a combination of four different government agencies such as Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Although there are some wilderness areas that you can visit, there are very strict guidelines called “Leave No Trace” which has 7 basic principles. All motor vehicle transportation including bicycles is banned from these areas. So if you are looking for a remote and spiritual adventure, you can take your luck visiting the wilderness or you can be safe and stick to nature trails.

The Importance Of The Wilderness Act Of 1964

There are many beautiful places that are still considered wilderness within the United States. One of the primary reasons for this is the Wilderness Act of 1964. First signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, this law was passed to help protect wilderness areas and preserve them for the American people. The Act defines wilderness and provided federal protection for more almost 2 million acres. Today, the preservation system created by the Act includes almost 110 million acres located across 44 states and Puerto Rico.

All land under the Wilderness Act comes from existing federal land. There are several criteria used to determine which land will receive a wilderness designation. These are areas which have a minimal human imprint, present options for unconfined recreation, consist of at least 5,000 acres, and possess scientific, educational or historical value.

All areas designated as Wilderness should also have no motorized travel or any enterprises located within the acreage. Any area designated as wilderness will also have a clearly defined boundary which is then set by statutory law. Once the land is designated as wilderness, only another act of Congress can change that.

The act of designating land as wilderness is considered the highest level of conservation protection used for federal lands. Designated wilderness lands are managed by four federal agencies. The U.S. Congress has given this responsibility to the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The agencies are mandated to manage, preserve and when possible, restore the wilderness areas.

Under the Wilderness Act, no commercial enterprises or permanent roads may be created within the wilderness area. The only exceptions to this are recreational or other services that adhere to the tenets of the Wilderness Act. As a rule, a wilderness area will not allow any motor vehicles, motorized equipment, temporary roads, mechanical transport, or permanent installations or structures. The Act does acknowledge there may be exceptions to protect private property, provide for human health and safety, to fight fires, and to control insect infestations.

Within National Parks, the backcountry areas may not fall under the Act. Often, these wilderness areas are protected by agency policies which can be changed. When an area is designated as a wilderness area under the Act, it is protected for all Americans, present, and future.

The Act also protects watersheds, open space, diverse ecosystems, natural soundscapes, and biodiversity. There is a sense of wildness in these areas which can serve to produce both a physical and spiritual experience.

Wilderness areas are often used for outdoor recreation that doesn’t require motorized equipment or vehicles. A more recent interpretation of the Act banned bicycles from the wilderness areas. The Act does allow certain uses including grazing and extracting resources if these were performed before the land was designated as wilderness area.

The Wilderness Act of 1964 protects some of America’s most beautiful areas. The Act helps preserve these pristine environments so present and future generations will be able the enjoy them. You can read the exact here: https://wilderness.nps.gov/document/wildernessAct.pdf