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Cultural Resources on the Bureau of Land Management Public Lands: An Assessment and Needs Analysis (2006) 

12-02-2016 19:11

In May 2006, the National Trust for Historic Preservation released a new study on the Bureau of Land Management, "Cultural Resources on the Bureau of Land Management Public Lands: An Assessment and Needs Analysis". The BLM manages over 261 million acres of federal land, primarily in the eleven western states and Alaska. These lands contain the largest, most diverse and scientifically important body of cultural resources managed by any federal agency. Ranging from prehistoric cliff dwellings, rock art and sacred sites of continuing significance to Native Americans, to historic mining structures and ranches, cultural resources managed by BLM represent the tangible remains of over 13,000 years of human adaptation on the North American continent. Over 263,000 cultural properties have been recorded on BLM land, a fraction of the 4 to 4.5 million estimated to exist. A variety of factors currently threaten these resources, including inadequate information about the location, condition and significance of sites, insufficient funding to identify, evaluate and protect them and activities like oil and gas development and motorized recreation. BLM also faces significant challenges in monitoring and protecting cultural resources from theft, looting, inadvertent destruction and the forces of nature.

#BLM #PublicLands #Advocacy

Author(s):T. Destry Jarvis
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Of the 261 million acres managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management, only about 17 million acres across 11 western states have ever been inventoried or surveyed to identify cultural resources found there; nevertheless, 263,000 cultural properties have been discovered on these lands, indicating that an enormous trove of publicly owned irreplaceable cultural resources remains to be identified, and preserved, on our public lands. The enormous scope of the cultural resources to be found on the BLM public lands continues to dwarf the staff and funds allocated to manage them.