From the red rock canyons of Moab to the sagebrush flanked shores of Bear Lake, Bureau of Land Management land covers vast swathes of Utah. These nearly 23 million acres of public land draw broad user groups and underpin local economies. On BLM land in Utah, hikers traverse lonely country, off-road enthusiasts rumble over hundreds of miles of backroads, miners and fossil fuel workers labor and ranchers and shepherds drive herds.
Managing these competing uses falls on the men and women who staff the state’s district and field offices. This task, which has always been enormous, has only gotten more difficult as staffing numbers dwindle as outdoor recreation and populations increase user pressure on public lands in Utah. Recently released Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) research reveals the consequences of an agency unable to meet its obligations to protect and manage public lands, especially when it comes to the BLM’s grazing program.