This week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is considering limited development in areas with wilderness protections in place. According to the New York Times:
“Wild lands” could accommodate rangeland improvements, wildlife-habitat enhancements or mountain biking as long as those activities don’t impair wilderness characteristics, BLM Director Bob Abbey said.
The wild lands order — announced in December by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar — directs field managers to take stock of wilderness-quality tracts during land-use planning and project reviews and, after taking public comment, consider wild lands designations that would bar activities incompatible with wilderness.
But those bans would be temporary and could be overturned in subsequent land-use decisions, such as for a proposed electric transmission project…
Right now, the BLM can inventory and manage land as a “wilderness study area” to protect its value as wilderness until Congress decides whether or not to designate it as wilderness. In contrast, “wild lands”designations would be amended at any time depending on land use.