Thursday, June 16, 2011

U.S. interior secretary launches new plan to designate Wilderness

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he wants to work with Congress to create a list of public lands by Oct. 15 that should be immediately designated as Wilderness. And he cites an omnibus public lands bill that was ramrodded through Congress to inappropriately designate 2 million acres of public land as Wilderness as an example of what can be done if the Obama administration and members of Congress work together. A Wilderness designation is one of the strictest forms of public land management. Once Congress designates an area as Wilderness, nearly all forms of non-pedestrian recreation are illegal, including off-highway vehicle (OHV) and bicycle riding. In a June 10 letter to members of Congress, Salazar says he will work with Congress to identify public land managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that should be designated as Wilderness. “Noting the bipartisan success of Congress and the Obama administration to designate approximately 2 million acres of Wilderness in 2009, Secretary Salazar said that he will deliver to Congress, by Oct. 15, 2011, a list of areas overseen by the Bureau of Land Management that he believes are ready for immediate Wilderness designation by Congress,” the Interior Department says in a printed statement...more

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