Thanks to the Foundation of FLPMA, the BLM is Ready for Future

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 represents a landmark achievement in the management of the public lands of the United States. For the first time in the long history of the public lands, one law provides comprehensive authority and guidelines for the administration and protection of the Federal lands and their resources under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management. This law enunciates a Federal policy of retention of these lands for multiple use management and repeals many obsolete public land laws which heretofore hindered effective land use planning for and management of public lands. The policies contained in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act will shape the future development and conservation of a valuable national asset, our public lands.

Senator Henry M. Jackson
Chairman, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

We’re the PUBLIC in public lands 

Our national parks have been called America’s best idea, but they are just one piece of the larger, extraordinary concept of U.S. public lands — millions of acres owned in part by each and every American. From snow-capped mountains to the sagebrush sea, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oversees over 200 million acres of our shared natural heritage. Forty years ago, Congress passed legislation called the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLMPA), which set the course for how the BLM manages our public lands today.

Most Americans have probably never heard of FLMPA, but it is a law that affects all who love and cherish our BLM wild public lands. Prior to 1976, the lands currently managed by the BLM were not necessarily viewed as America’s crown jewels like the national parks or U.S. Forest Service managed wilderness areas. FLPMA notably included conservation and managing areas for wilderness characteristics as priority uses for BLM public lands, in addition to activities like mining, grazing, energy development, and recreation. Fans of wild places can thank FLPMA for directing the BLM to take inventory of the lands it oversees and determining which areas should be managed for conservation.

In order to decide which uses were of the highest value to specific places managed by the BLM, FLPMA importantly created a process to allow citizens to have a say in how their public lands are managed. Each region is governed by a “Resource Management Plan”, which takes into account how the public — YOU — wants to see these lands managed for the next 20–30 years. Should we protect an area’s wilderness character or allow development for energy or minerals? Should motorized recreation be allowed in an untrammeled area?

WE are the public in public lands, and it is imperative that all of us speak up to ensure the wild places we love stay that way for future generations. It is up to us to attend public meetings, submit written comments, and talk to our local land managers about which areas are important to protect from development and other threats. Go to to learn more and get involved with your local BLM Wild partner organization to help safeguard the most important and unspoiled places of the American West.


These incredible photographs by Omar Victor Diop, a Senegalese photographer, were brought to my attention by a twitter follower. This series, entitled Project Diaspora, was inspired by both Diop’s sense of isolation during an artist residency in Europe, and then subsequent wonder upon discovering the massive academic collection, Image of the Black In Western Art. From the New York Times:

“As a Francophone African,” he said, “I had never heard of these individuals.”

He has since made up for that oversight, producing “Project Diaspora,” a set of 12 images Mr. Diop adapted from artworks created in Europe from the 15th to the 19th centuries. They represent outstanding individuals who lived in Europe and illustrate the historical depth of the ties that have linked the Western world to the African continent.

In each image, Mr. Diop poses as the person in the original engraving, painting or sculpture. “I enjoy the idea that, contrary to the conventional self-portrait, I am just an accessory,” he said during a Skype interview. “My goal is to bear witness to the contribution of Africans to universal civilization.”

I’ve made the imposition here to include some of the original artworks beside a few of the photographs from the series, a testament to both the accuracy of the recreations, and well as to underscore the symbolism of Diop’s interpretations.

You can read about each artwork and individual that inspired these works at the New York Times article also linked above, at Diop’s online gallery for Project Diaspora, or learn more about individuals like Don Miguel De Castro, ambassador from Kongo to Dutch Brazil here at Medievalpoc.