The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently announced it will invest nearly $9 million from the President’s Investing in America agenda to support increased recreational opportunities and create good paying jobs on America’s public lands.
The funds from the Inflation Reduction Act – the largest climate investment in history – will allow the Bureau to hire an additional 30 recreation specialists, from park rangers to outdoor recreation planners. The additional hires promise to make BLM’s recreation program more resilient and able to deliver exceptional, one-of-a-kind recreational experiences on public lands.
Any investments in outdoor recreation ultimately impact the experiences of outdoor enthusiasts, many of whom enjoy adventures in nature via their RVs, campers, ATVs, boats and big outdoor toys of all kinds. As such, BLM improvements can also impact the RV and boat storage industry, which continues to evolve, aiming to balance the overabundant need for storage and a dearth of facilities to meet demand.
“The public knows that their public lands offer fabulous places to explore the outdoors, and visitation numbers are higher than ever,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are creating new, good paying jobs to help manage that growth.”
In 2022, more than 81 million visits were recorded on public lands – a 40% increase since 2012, and a number that grows each year.
In response to the increase in public lands recreation use, BLM published a new Blueprint for 21st Century Outdoor Recreation in August 2023. The Blueprint outlines a vision to diversify resource support for recreation; prioritize and embrace partnerships; expand outreach and establish a culture of inclusion; and meet the demand for recreation, better protect resources, and improve access.
“Demand for outdoor recreation continues to grow, and there are opportunities to improve how we manage sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities on public lands,” said Adam Cramer, CEO of Outdoor Alliance. “A well-managed BLM recreation program will build this sustainable future to meet demand for outdoor recreation, will have economic benefits for local communities, and will help conserve the climate, clean air and water and habitat. This program dovetails with efforts across the Administration to meet the need for recreation while also providing environmental benefits.”
“America’s lands and waters are the natural foundation upon which the $862 billion outdoor recreation industry is built, and the BLM is an invaluable partner to the outdoor recreation industry in supporting these special places where we camp, fish, hunt, horseback ride, climb, bike, ATV, snowmobile and more,” said Jessica Wahl Turner, President of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “Land management staff at the BLM are an invaluable aspect of our sector, and this exciting deployment of funding will help ensure there is adequate staff to manage sustainable visitation while conserving these same outdoor experiences for the next generation to enjoy. Everyone should be able to reap the benefits of time spent outside, and ORR applauds the BLM for this important stride towards that vision.”
The funding announced today from the Inflation Reduction Act adds to other recent investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Great American Outdoors Act, which collectively are investing millions to improve recreation sites such as trails, campsites and visitor centers. The Biden-Harris administration is also implementing America the Beautiful, a decades-long challenge to pursue a locally led, nationwide effort to conserve, connect and restore the lands, waters and wildlife upon which we all depend. Initiative, a decades-long challenge to pursue a locally led, nationwide effort to conserve, connect, and restore the lands, waters, and wildlife upon which we all depend.
The BLM estimates that recreation opportunities on public lands annually contribute more than $11 billion in economic output and support more than 70,000 jobs in communities nationwide. For more information on BLM’s recreation program, visit BLM.gov/recreation.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.