June 1, 2011
Virginia Cramer, 804-225-9113 x 102
New Guidance on Wild Lands
The Department of Interior today announced new guidance for the management of millions of acres of public lands with wilderness qualities. The move comes after funding for the Wild Lands policy was removed in this year’s budget.
Under the new guidance no official Wild Lands designations will be made, but wild places will continue to be inventoried and their wilderness characteristics considered in planning. The agency will also be working with Congress and others to identify areas for permanent protection.
Statement of Athan Manuel, Director of Lands Protection, Sierra Club
"Our nation's wild places provide countless recreation opportunities, support for local economies, and a foundation for the natural systems that can help our communities weather intense storms, droughts and wildfire. Protecting these unparalleled natural places is of utmost importance to us all.
The Bureau of Land Management has a responsibility and a duty not just to inventory, but to protect our nation’s wild places. The Wild Lands policy provided a straightforward approach to restoring balance and preserving our last wild places for future generations to enjoy.
The last minute sneak attack which hamstrung the policy in this year’s budget is bad news for our public lands—and for scores of local economies that depend on outdoor recreation. The future of some of our most cherished wild places should not be determined by political games.
We will continue working to ensure that our country's wild places receive the protections they need and the funding to make it possible. We hope the Obama administration will as well. Our outdoor heritage, our communities, and many economies, depends on keeping some places wild."