WASHINGTON – Today, Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt signed a secretarial order directing that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) adequately weigh public access for outdoor recreation – including hunting and fishing – when determining the appropriateness of the disposal or exchange of public lands. Identifying lands as available for disposal or exchange is required under federal law.
The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) directs the BLM to identify lands for potential disposal or exchange, using a public process and with state and county involvement. BLM has carried out these provisions revising land use plans and disposal since 1976. However, the BLM’s criteria do not require the agency to weigh public access considerations for outdoor recreation (fishing, hunting, hiking, etc.).
Secretarial Order 3373, Evaluating Public Access in BLM Land Disposals and Exchanges directs the BLM to – for the first time ever – formally consider what impact the disposal or exchange of any BLM land will have on the public’s ability to access federal lands for recreation.
“This order will help ensure that the Bureau of Land Management considers public access to public lands,” said Acting Secretary David Bernhardt. “It requires that before the BLM exchanges or disposes of any land, they must first consider what impact the disposal or exchange of land will have on public access. The Trump Administration will continue to prioritize access so that people can hunt, fish, camp, and recreate on our public lands.”
“Sportsmen and women across the West will benefit from this Interior Department action to sustain and enhance recreational access to BLM public lands,” said Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “In some places, there are small parcels of BLM land that serve as the only means of nearby access to hunting and fishing or as the only access points to adjoining public lands managed by other agencies. The Secretarial Order will ensure that key parcels are valued for this recreational access and help keep these lands in the public’s hands.”
“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation commends Acting Secretary Bernhardt for prioritizing hunting and fishing access in BLM land tenure decisions,” said Jeff Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “As Chairman of the Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council, I look forward to working closely with the Interior Department to implement this important Secretarial Order on behalf of America’s sportsmen and women.”
“The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies supports the latest Secretarial Order (SO) for recreation on BLM public lands,” said Ed Carter, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “Getting the American public outside to recreate, on federal public lands, is important to fostering a healthy public and one that supports conservation. This SO ensures due diligence unto that end."
“Access to our Nation’s vast public lands is of utmost importance, because where hunting and fishing happen, conservation happens,” said Timothy C. Brady, President of the Boone and Crockett Club. “While the founders of the Boone and Crockett Club pioneered the development of the public land system Americans enjoy today, we must constantly work to improve access to public lands for a multitude of shared uses. This order that Acting Secretary Bernhardt has signed will help do just that. We commend him on his efforts in making access a priority. Thanks to his leadership, this necessity is finally becoming a reality.”
“The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation was happy to provide input and enthusiastically supports the decision of Acting Secretary Bernhardt for the BLM to consider recreational public access for hunting, fishing, trapping, and recreational shooting in its decision-making process for disposal or exchange of lands,” said Kyle Weaver, President and CEO of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
"We applaud this secretarial order by Acting Secretary Bernhardt that ensures access to our public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management,” said Becky Humphries, CEO of the National Wild Turkey Federation. “Recreational access to our public lands is of the utmost importance to sportsmen and women and the future of hunting."
“Access to quality hunting and fishing lands is always a challenge, particularly in the West where access to some of the best mule deer hunting is blocked due to checkerboard public/private lands,” said Miles Moretti, President and CEO of the Mule Deer Foundation. “By requiring the Bureau of Land Management to consider recreational access before making decisions about disposal or exchange, Secretarial Order 3373 will benefit hunters that depend on the agency’s lands for their recreational pursuits. The Mule Deer Foundation appreciates Acting Secretary Bernhardt and his team for their ongoing efforts on behalf of sportsmen and women conservationists.”
About Secretarial Order 3373
Secretarial Order 3373 directs the BLM to ensure that when identifying BLM-managed public lands as available for disposal the increase or decrease of public access for outdoor recreation – including hunting and fishing – will be one of the factors considered in determining the appropriateness of the disposal or exchange.
Secretarial Order 3373 directs the consideration of public access opportunities in all ongoing Resource Management Plan (RMP) revisions to ensure recreation access is evaluated using the following criteria:
Secretarial Order 3373 directs the BLM, when preparing documentation supporting the disposal or exchange of a tract of land, to include a discussion of the following in any decision document:
PASCO, WA – Educational Service District (ESD) 123 is pleased to announce the selection of our 2019 Regional Classified Employee of the Year. Ms. Vickie Rogers, a Health Clinician (school nurse) in Walla Walla Public Schools, manages over 2,000 high school students with complex medical conditions to ensure that they receive the support they need to be successful in school and in life.
The Classified School Employee of the Year program recognizes excellence in the work of public school employees, including paraprofessionals, school nurses, secretaries, custodians and others. Anyone may nominate a classified public school employee for this award, which is overseen by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). All completed nominations are sent to the regional coordinator at each ESD, who in turn selects a regional winner. Ms. Rogers is one of nine regional winners who will go on to compete for the State Classified Employee of the Year award.
Each recommendation letter supporting Ms. Rogers’ nomination for Classified Employee of the Year speaks to her ability to build strong, positive relationships with students, parents, staff and local community partners. Prior to her role in WWPS, Ms. Rogers served 18 years in Women’s Services at a hospital. During that time, she worked with many teenage girls, providing child development education, parenting classes, nutrition, and other mentoring roles.
In speaking to her decision to begin working as a health clinician for WWPS, Ms. Rogers stated, “I decided it was a great opportunity to combine my nursing skills and my passion to help young people understand how decisions they make regarding their health can impact their daily lives, ability to function at school and be successful at school.” She goes on to say, “There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a young person's brain click when they realize, ‘Oh yeah, this is a better choice!’”
ESD 123 is proud to bring forward Vickie Rogers to represent our region for this year’s awards. She is a truly caring and compassionate professional who embodies the role of what the State Classified Employee of the Year should be. For more information on these awards, contact OSPI Recognition Coordinator, Hilary Seidel, at 360.725.6117.
About ESD 123: Educational Service District 123, based in Pasco, WA, is one of nine ESDs in Washington. Dedicated to delivering collaborative solutions that promote learning, ESD 123 serves 23 school districts in seven counties of Southeastern Washington. Under Superintendent Darcy Weisner and its board of directors, this legislatively mandated, not-for-profit educational organization provides efficiency of educational systems and equity of learning opportunities for over 70,000 Washington students. For more information about ESD 123, please call 509-544-5700 or 888-547-8441 or visit www.esd123.org.
DENVER – Interior’s Bureau of Land Management and Agriculture’s Forest Service recognized the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto (NRMG) last week for their leadership and contributions to wildlife conservation and public lands stewardship. The awards were presented at the 84th North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference in Denver.
The RMEF, a 35-year veteran partner to both agencies and headquartered in Missoula, Montana, received the Forest Service-BLM 2019 Conservation Partner of the Year Award for sustained outstanding contributions to wildlife conservation and public access across the West. The NRMG was awarded the Forest Service-BLM 2019 Conservation Project Award for its dedication, leadership, and innovations to building collaborative partnerships that promote sound land management practices and conservation of public lands, wildlife, and cave resources in Montana, Idaho and North Dakota.
“The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto embody what it means to be a true partner. The dedicated work, vital leadership, and significant financial contributions provided by these organizations and their volunteers each year make a real difference in our ability to manage our nation’s wildlife and public lands sustainably for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations of Americans,” said Kristin Bail, BLM Assistant Director for Resources and Planning.
“Committed partners like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto are critical to sustaining the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands. We value their dedicated commitment, technical expertise, and leadership in working with federal and state agencies, communities, and other partners to leverage resources in the management and conservation of lands and wildlife,” said Rob Harper, Director of Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air and Rare Plants in the Forest Service.
RMEF has helped the BLM and Forest Service implement more than 4,300 wildlife habitat enhancement, land protection, and public access improvement projects. Such projects include aspen restoration, forest restoration thinning, prescribed fire, burned area restoration, planting, seeding, fence removal, and weed control to enhance more than firve million acres of wildlife habitat on federal public lands.
RMEF also facilitated BLM and Forest Service land and easement acquisitions through the nation’s Land and Water Conservation Fund to conserve wildlife habitat and improve public recreational access on federal lands. RMEF has directly contributed more than $36.6 million to both agencies to help fund wildlife and conservation projects. The combined total conservation value of the two agencies’ partnership with RMEF is estimated at more than $411 million.
The NRMG assists the Forest Service, BLM, and the State of Montana in cave inventory, monitoring, and management, with a focus on cave restoration, bat habitat monitoring, and preventing the spread of White Nose Syndrome, a deadly and highly infectious disease affecting bat populations across the U.S. NRMG is actively engaged in helping the agencies educate the public on bat conservation, including installing cave visitor register boxes, which provide information for cave visitors about clean caving practices, decontamination protocols, and reporting bat observations through the NRMG website. The organization also collaborates with Forest Service and BLM personnel and Bigfork High School Cave Club to establish cave climate monitoring, photo monitoring, and Visitor Impact Point monitoring across Montana.
“We are honored to receive this recognition for our conservation work that benefits elk and so many other wildlife species,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “We appreciate our federal agency partners with whom we’ve worked shoulder-to-shoulder for years now and look forward to many more joint projects that permanently protect and enhance wildlife habitat, open or improve public access and benefit hunters, anglers and so many others who cherish our wild landscapes.”
“We've really enjoyed working with the FS and BLM since 2011. As many agencies are stretched thin with resources, it is imperative that we learn to work more effectively to help manage the outdoor resources we all care so much about,” said Ian Chechet, NRMG Chairman.
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