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Frequently Asked Questions: Public Lands in General

What are public lands?

Public lands are those lands that the federal government acquired by purchase or by conquest of either Native American tribes or foreign nations. Under the United States Constitution, Congress is given authority for the regulation and disposition of the public lands.

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What is the Bureau of Land Management?

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency under the Department of the Interior. The BLM manages those federal lands left over after 150 years of transferring land to private ownership, to the state of Utah, and to other government agencies. These lands are owned in common by the American people. As mandated by Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), BLM lands are managed under the concept of "multiple use," for the general benefit of the public.

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What is "multiple use"?

The BLM manages its lands under the mandate of "multiple use." For example, a single BLM district can be used for grazing, skiing, timber cutting, hunting, mining, and wilderness. A common misconception is that multiple use means all uses in all places, but this is not the case. Obviously, grazing, skiing, mining, timber cutting, hunting, and wilderness can not all exist on the same acre of land at the same time. Yet all of these activities can exist within a particular National Forest of BLM district. The Multiple Use and Sustained Yield Act of 1960 requires that federal agencies manage their lands so that all uses on these lands are "harmoniously balanced." Wilderness is multiple use, both in fact, and under law.

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