Friends Groups Voice Concerns Over Lack of BLM Employees Dedicated to National Conservation Lands
Last week, forty-three members of the Friends Grassroots Network (FGN) sent a letter to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) leaders in Washington, D.C. expressing concern over the decreasing amount of staff resources allocated to protecting, preserving and enhancing the National Conservation Lands. The letter was followed by a call between three members of the FGN, Steve Ellis, Deputy Director of the BLM and Carl Rountree, National Conservation Lands Director. Joe Neuhof (Friends of Colorado Canyons Association), Sharon Baur (Friends of Joshua Tree Forest) and Josh Ewing (Friends of Cedar Mesa) represented the FGN on the call.
The Friends Grassroots Network is made up of nearly 60 place-based groups, each of which are active stewards and advocates for a local unit of the National Conservation Lands and for the system as a whole. Each day these groups and their volunteers work to protect and restore the National Conservation Lands through education, engagement and advocacy.
The FGN representatives on the call highlighted examples of BLM positions that are currently vacant or consolidated, and the consequences of those vacancies on the land and local communities. Many members of the FGN have witnessed neglect, degradation and abuse of the National Conservation Lands due to a lack of BLM capacity. Steve Ellis and Carl Rountree expressed thanks for the hard work of the FGN and the strong partnerships they have developed with BLM. Ellis and Rountree promised to share the letter and examples with other leaders within the BLM. Click here to read the official letter and examples.
The Conservation Lands Foundation would like to thank the Friends Grassroots Network for their hard work and dedication. We would also like to thank the BLM for their time and attention dedicated to this issue, and for all they do as stewards of the National Conservation Lands.
Cattle in Cedar Mesa damage cultural resources- breaking down walls and coating sites in manure. Despite the support of ranching permit holders and the willingness of volunteers to pay for and construct fences, two proposed by BLM rangers and supported by Friends of Cedar Mesa have gone more than three years waiting for administrative approvals.