BLM Land: Everything You Need to Know

BLM Land: Everything You Need to Know

BLM Land stands for the Bureau of Land Management, which is a federal agency responsible for managing public lands in the United States. BLM lands refer to the lands that are managed by the Bureau of Land Management, including forests, grasslands, and deserts.

These lands are owned by the federal government and are open to the public for a variety of recreational activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting. BLM lands also provide important habitat for wildlife, and they are often used for grazing and other resource extraction activities.

In recent years, BLM lands have become a focus of attention for their role in conservation efforts, as well as for their importance to Indigenous communities and for their potential for renewable energy development. They have also been in the news due to their association with the Black Lives Matter movement, which has called for greater awareness and action to address racial disparities in access to public lands and natural resources.

How much Land is There

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages over 245 million acres of public lands in the United States, which represents about 10% of the total land area of the country. These lands are located primarily in the western states, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

BLM lands include a diverse range of ecosystems, from deserts and grasslands to forests and alpine meadows, and they support a wide variety of wildlife species, including threatened and endangered species such as the sage-grouse, desert tortoise, and Mexican gray wolf.

The amount of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land per state varies widely across the United States. Here is a list of each state and the approximate amount of BLM land in acres as of 2021:

  • Alabama: 47,000 acres
  • Alaska: 72.4 million acres
  • Arizona: 12.2 million acres
  • Arkansas: 303,000 acres
  • California: 15.2 million acres
  • Colorado: 8.4 million acres
  • Florida: 79,000 acres
  • Idaho: 12.2 million acres
  • Illinois: 26,000 acres
  • Indiana: 2,700 acres
  • Iowa: 100 acres
  • Kansas: 675,000 acres
  • Kentucky: 17,000 acres
  • Louisiana: 310,000 acres
  • Michigan: 318,000 acres
  • Minnesota: 640 acres
  • Mississippi: 1.2 million acres
  • Missouri: 79,000 acres
  • Montana: 8.3 million acres
  • Nebraska: 945,000 acres
  • Nevada: 48.5 million acres
  • New Mexico: 13.5 million acres
  • North Dakota: 1.1 million acres
  • Ohio: 40 acres
  • Oklahoma: 311,000 acres
  • Oregon: 16.1 million acres
  • Pennsylvania: 18,000 acres
  • South Dakota: 1.4 million acres
  • Tennessee: 20,000 acres
  • Texas: 2.6 million acres
  • Utah: 22.9 million acres
  • Virginia: 82,000 acres
  • Washington: 4.2 million acres
  • West Virginia: 8,000 acres
  • Wisconsin: 48,000 acres
  • Wyoming: 18.9 million acres

It's important to note that these numbers are approximate and subject to change as the BLM acquires or disposes of land in different states.

Land Use

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages public lands for the benefit of all Americans, and these lands are open to a wide variety of recreational uses to the public, as well as for resource extraction and other activities. Some of the ways in which the public can use BLM land include:

  • Recreation: BLM lands offer opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, boating, rock climbing, and other outdoor activities. Many BLM lands also have developed campgrounds, picnic areas, and other facilities for public use.
  • Grazing: BLM lands are used for livestock grazing, and ranchers can obtain permits to graze their cattle or sheep on BLM lands.
  • Resource extraction: BLM lands are also used for oil and gas development, mining, and timber harvesting, among other activities. Companies interested in extracting these resources must obtain permits and comply with environmental regulations.
  • Conservation: BLM lands are home to a wide variety of wildlife and plant species, including threatened and endangered species. The BLM works to conserve these resources by managing habitats, protecting watersheds, and restoring ecosystems.
  • Cultural and historical exploration: BLM lands include important sites for Native American communities, as well as historic trails and landmarks associated with the settlement and development of the American West. Visitors can explore these sites and learn about the cultural and historical significance of these lands.

    Finding BLM Land Near You

    Apps for BLM Land

    There are several ways to find Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in the United States. Here are a few options:

    • BLM Website: The Bureau of Land Management has a website that provides information on public lands managed by the agency. The website includes interactive maps that allow you to search for BLM lands by state, county, or specific location. You can also find information on recreation opportunities, permits and fees, and other important details.
    • BLM Offices: The Bureau of Land Management has field offices throughout the United States that are responsible for managing public lands in their respective regions. You can contact your nearest BLM office to obtain maps, brochures, and other information on BLM lands in your area.
    • Mobile Apps: There are several mobile apps available that provide information on BLM lands, including maps, recreation opportunities, and other details. Some popular apps include the BLM Navigator app for Apple or Android and the OnX Hunt app which is a must have.
    • Maps and Guidebooks: You can also find maps and guidebooks that provide information on BLM lands at many outdoor retailers and bookstores. These resources can be helpful for planning outdoor adventures and exploring public lands.

      Remember that while BLM lands are open to the public for a wide range of activities, it is important to respect the natural and cultural resources of these lands and to follow all rules and regulations governing their use.

      Hunting on BLM Land

      Hunting on BLM Land

      Hunting on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands is allowed, but hunters must follow state and federal regulations and obtain the appropriate licenses and permits. Here are some key things to know about hunting on BLM lands:

      • Licensing: Hunters must have a valid hunting license for the state in which they plan to hunt, as well as any applicable tags or permits. These licenses and permits can typically be obtained through the state's fish and wildlife agency.
      • Regulations: Hunting on BLM lands is subject to federal and state regulations, which vary depending on the species being hunted and the location of the hunt. Hunters should consult with the appropriate agencies to ensure they are following all rules and regulations governing their hunt.
      • Access: BLM lands are open to public hunting, but hunters should be aware of any restrictions or closures that may be in effect due to seasonal factors or other considerations. Some areas may also be closed to hunting due to environmental concerns or other factors.
      • Safety: As with any hunting activity, safety is paramount. Hunters should ensure they are properly equipped, including wearing blaze orange clothing, and should be aware of other hunters and non-hunters who may be using the area.
      • Conservation: Hunting on BLM lands is an important tool for managing wildlife populations and ensuring the long-term health of ecosystems. Hunters should be aware of their impact on the environment and take steps to minimize their impact, such as practicing responsible hunting practices and properly disposing of any waste.

        It's important to note that hunting regulations and access may vary depending on the specific BLM land you are interested in hunting on. Therefore, hunters should check with the appropriate agencies and obtain the necessary permits and information before hunting on BLM lands.

        Fishing on BLM Land

        Fishing on BLM Land

        Fishing on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands is allowed, but anglers must follow state and federal regulations and obtain the appropriate licenses and permits. Here are some key things to know about fishing on BLM lands:

        • Licensing: Anglers must have a valid fishing license for the state in which they plan to fish. These licenses can typically be obtained through the state's fish and wildlife agency.
        • Regulations: Fishing on BLM lands is subject to federal and state regulations, which vary depending on the species being fished and the location of the fishing. Anglers should consult with the appropriate agencies to ensure they are following all rules and regulations governing their fishing.
        • Access: BLM lands are open to public fishing, but anglers should be aware of any restrictions or closures that may be in effect due to seasonal factors or other considerations. Some areas may also be closed to fishing due to environmental concerns or other factors.
        • Safety: As with any fishing activity, safety is important. Anglers should ensure they are properly equipped, including wearing life jackets when fishing from boats or other watercraft, and should be aware of other anglers and non-anglers who may be using the area.
        • Conservation: Fishing on BLM lands is an important tool for managing fish populations and ensuring the long-term health of ecosystems. Anglers should be aware of their impact on the environment and take steps to minimize their impact, such as practicing responsible catch-and-release practices and properly disposing of any waste.

          It's important to note that fishing regulations and access may vary depending on the specific BLM land you are interested in fishing on. Therefore, anglers should check with the appropriate agencies and obtain the necessary permits and information before fishing on BLM lands.

          Camping on BLM Land

          Camping on BLM Land

          Camping on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands can be a great way to experience the outdoors and enjoy public lands. Here are some things to know about camping on BLM lands:

          • Dispersed camping: BLM lands generally allow for "dispersed camping," which means camping outside of designated campsites. Dispersed camping is allowed on most BLM lands, but visitors must follow certain guidelines to ensure they are camping responsibly and minimizing their impact on the environment.
          • Time limits: Most BLM lands allow for camping up to 14 days in any 28-day period. After 14 days, campers must move at least 25 miles away from their original camping spot.
          • Permitting: Generally, no permits are required for dispersed camping on BLM lands, but some areas may require permits for special activities, such as group camping or use of off-road vehicles.
          • Campfires: In most cases, campfires are allowed on BLM lands, but visitors must follow fire restrictions that may be in effect due to seasonal or environmental factors. Campers should also make sure to properly extinguish their fires before leaving the area.
          • Leave No Trace: BLM lands are public lands, and it's important to leave them as you found them. Campers should practice Leave No Trace principles, such as packing out all trash and properly disposing of human waste.

            It's important to note that camping regulations and access may vary depending on the specific BLM land you are interested in camping on. Therefore, campers should check with the appropriate agencies and obtain the necessary permits and information before camping on BLM lands.

            Hiking on BLM Land 

            Hiking on BLM Land

            Hiking on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands can be a great way to explore the outdoors and experience public lands. Here are some things to know about hiking on BLM lands:

            • Trails and routes: BLM lands may have established trails and routes for hiking, but visitors can also explore off-trail areas. Visitors should be prepared to navigate through diverse terrain and should be aware of their surroundings, as some areas may have hazards such as steep cliffs, unstable rock formations, or wildlife.
            • Permits: Generally, no permits are required for hiking on BLM lands, but some areas may require permits for special activities, such as group hikes or use of off-road vehicles.
            • Leave No Trace: As with camping, hikers on BLM lands should practice Leave No Trace principles, such as packing out all trash and properly disposing of human waste. Visitors should also stay on designated trails to avoid damaging vegetation or wildlife habitats.
            • Safety: Visitors should be prepared for changing weather conditions and potential hazards when hiking on BLM lands. Hikers should carry appropriate gear, such as water, food, navigation tools, and first aid supplies. It's also a good idea to let someone know your hiking plans before heading out.
            • Special considerations: BLM lands may have specific rules or regulations for hiking in certain areas. For example, some areas may be closed to hiking during certain seasons to protect wildlife habitats. Visitors should check with the appropriate agencies to obtain current information on hiking regulations and conditions.

              Hiking Trails on BLM Land

              There are several ways to find trails on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands:

              • Visit the BLM website: The BLM website provides information on trails and recreation opportunities on BLM lands. Visitors can search for trails by state, region, or activity, such as hiking or biking.
              • Use mapping resources: Mapping resources such as Google Maps, AllTrails, and TrailLink can be helpful in finding trails on BLM lands. Visitors can search for trails by location or activity, and may be able to view trail maps, trail conditions, and reviews from other users.
              • Check with local BLM offices: Local BLM offices may have information on trails and recreation opportunities in their area. Visitors can contact the local office or visit in person to obtain maps and information on trails and recreation opportunities.
              • Consult guidebooks or local publications: Guidebooks or local publications, such as hiking or outdoor magazines, may provide information on trails and recreation opportunities on BLM lands.

                It's important to note that trail information may vary depending on the specific BLM land you are interested in visiting. Therefore, visitors should check with the appropriate agencies and obtain the necessary information before hiking on BLM lands. Visitors should also follow Leave No Trace principles and other guidelines to ensure they are hiking responsibly and minimizing their impact on the environment.

                Permits for BLM Land Use

                Some activities on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands may be allowed without a permit, while others require a permit. For example, recreational activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking are generally allowed without a permit, while activities such as camping, hunting, and off-road vehicle use may require a permit.

                It's important to note that while some activities may not require a permit, they are still subject to BLM regulations and restrictions. For example, there may be limits on group size, camping duration, or fire use, depending on the specific BLM land and the activity being conducted.

                The permits you may need for Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands depend on the type of activity you plan to undertake. Here are some examples of permits that may be required for specific activities:

                • Recreation permits: You may need a recreation permit for activities such as camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, or off-road vehicle use on BLM lands.
                • Grazing permits: If you plan to graze livestock on BLM lands, you will need a grazing permit.
                • Mining permits: If you plan to explore or develop mineral resources on BLM lands, you may need a mining permit.
                • Oil and gas permits: If you plan to explore or develop oil and gas resources on BLM lands, you may need an oil and gas permit.
                • Special use permits: If you plan to conduct a special activity on BLM lands, such as a group event or a commercial activity, you may need a special use permit.

                  Obtaining BLM Permits

                  To obtain permits for Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, you will typically need to follow these general steps:

                  • Determine the type of permit you need: BLM offers a variety of permits, including recreation permits, grazing permits, mining permits, and oil and gas permits, among others. You should determine the type of permit you need based on your proposed activity on BLM lands.
                  • Contact the local BLM office: You should contact the local BLM office for the area where you want to conduct your activity to obtain information on the specific permit requirements and application process. BLM offices are usually organized by field offices, and you can find the appropriate office for your area on the BLM website.
                  • Submit an application: You will need to submit a permit application to the BLM office. The application will generally include information on your proposed activity, including the location, duration, and purpose of the activity, as well as any environmental or cultural impacts. You may also be required to pay a processing fee or provide other information, such as proof of insurance.
                  • Await approval: The BLM office will review your application and may conduct an environmental assessment or consultation with other agencies as part of the review process. If your permit is approved, you will be issued a permit that outlines the terms and conditions of your activity on BLM lands.

                    The permit requirements and application process may vary depending on the specific BLM land you are interested in. 

                    Long Term Living on BLM Land

                    In general, living on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands is not allowed. BLM lands are public lands that are managed for multiple uses, including recreation, conservation, and resource development. While dispersed camping is allowed on most BLM lands, visitors are generally not allowed to establish permanent residences on BLM lands.

                    However, there are some limited circumstances where long-term occupancy of BLM lands may be allowed. For example, some areas may have designated long-term camping areas, or may allow for extended stays for research or educational purposes. Additionally, there may be certain situations where individuals may be granted a special use permit to live on BLM lands, such as for seasonal work or special events.

                    It's important to note that regulations and access may vary depending on the specific BLM land you are interested in. Therefore, individuals should check with the appropriate agencies and obtain the necessary permits and information before attempting to live on BLM lands.

                    Can You Buy BLM Land

                    It is possible to purchase some lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), but the vast majority of BLM lands are not available for sale to private individuals or entities.

                    The BLM manages public lands on behalf of the American people, and its mission is to protect these lands for future generations. While some BLM lands are available for sale or exchange under certain circumstances, such as to consolidate land ownership or to allow for public infrastructure projects, these sales or exchanges are subject to strict regulations and must be in the public interest.

                    In general, BLM lands are held in trust for the American people, and their long-term conservation and protection is a priority for the agency. Therefore, individuals or entities interested in acquiring BLM lands for private use or development should consult with the agency to determine if the lands they are interested in are available for sale, and if so, what conditions and restrictions apply.


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