BLM updates management strategy for Southeastern Oregon public lands

VALE– (Release from the Bureau of Land Management) The Bureau of Land Management released a Record of Decision for the Southeastern  Oregon Resource Management Plan Amendment, which updates specific aspects of management for  4.6 million acres of public lands in Oregon’s Malheur, Grant, Harney, and Baker counties. 

The decision preserves natural landscapes, updates off-highway vehicle use, and implements modest changes to grazing management while protecting wilderness characteristics across 417,190 acres of BLM-managed public land. 

“These expansive natural landscapes are special places that provide outstanding opportunities for solitude and primitive, unconfined recreation,” said Vale District Manager Shane DeForest. “We appreciate the public’s engagement as BLM updated strategies to protect the health of these lands while ensuring they continue to meet the needs of Oregon communities.” 

The plan amendment was undertaken in response to adverse court rulings and a resulting settlement agreement, in which the BLM committed to evaluate specific issues. Throughout the process, Tribal governments, wildlife agencies, the Southeast Oregon Resource Advisory Council, and members of the public provided valuable input and feedback. BLM officials considered more than 4,000 comments in developing the amendment. 

To preserve the unique nature of certain landscapes, the amendment will limit areas where cross country off-highway vehicle use is permitted. Such use will be limited to about 40,000 acres near Keeney Pass and Bully Creek Reservoir, which are both near the community of Vale. Nearly 16,000 acres will remain closed to vehicles. Across the rest of the 4.5 million acres in the planning area, vehicular use will be limited to existing roads. 

The amendment also provides additional guidance on the implementation of Standards for Rangeland Health and processing of voluntarily surrendered livestock grazing permits. 

The plan amendment and Record of Decision are posted at the BLM National NEPA Register.