Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Study: Recreation trumps ranchers on BLM land

A new federal study shows recreationists and the industry that supports their outdoor activities on lands managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management are outpacing traditional users like ranchers, loggers and miners. The results are a look into the Department of Interior’s economic effects in Idaho, a state where the BLM manages more than 11.9 million acres, mostly desert and canyon lands at lower elevations. The report finds that recreation accounts for more than six times more jobs than grazing and timber industries, and three times more than energy and minerals. Jobs and economic benefits from recreationists using BLM land include rafting and hunting outfitters and their support staff as well as the stores and merchants who sell food, gas and other supplies for the trips, the Idaho Statesman reported in a story published Tuesday. The report’s findings could renew the debate and criticism that the BLM has catered more to ranchers and the timber and mining industries, groups that traditionally have wielded more political clout. Wyatt Prescott, executive director of the Idaho Cattle Association, doesn’t dispute the findings of the report. But he takes a different approach to the results. Prescott says ranchers ultimately save the agency money because they fix fences, practice conservation and are on the lookout for fires and weed invasions. “It saves the agency money because the ranchers are out on the ground doing stewardship,’’ Prescott said. Budget figures show the BLM manages its land more cheaply than comparable federal agencies. It averages $1.70 an acre for management costs, compared to $8 for the National Forest Service and about $9.50 for the National Park Service...more

Check out those budget figures and you will see why the BLM is jealous of the other federal land management agencies. Instead of being proud of their efficiency they covet the money. This also helps explain their creation of the National Landscape Conservation System and the push for more protected areas, as they believe this will result in increased appropriations from Congress.

1 comment:

SLW said...

Let me get this right . . . the BLM is crowing about the numbers of jobs "it" creates for recreational endeavors? These are jobs created in the private enterprises on activities taking place on federal lands? Gheez, Louise . . . It has nothing to do with revenue generation for the BLM! Talk about upside down thinking. These people don't even live in the real world! Here they are posturing against historic industries taking credit for overall job creation. This is madness.