Outdoor Recreation Idea of the Day, December 13, 2010

What Works: The Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act

December 13, 2010 (Washington, DC) - The Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA), enacted in 1998, allows the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to sell public land around Las Vegas, Nevada. Since the late 1990's, there have been sales of BLM properties in Clark County -- the Las Vegas metro area -- of unused or underused BLM lands via auction. All proceeds of the sales remain in the area and are earmarked for key infrastructure projects and priority land acquisition, like trail corridors and lands important to multi-species habitat improvement projects. By all measures, the program has enjoyed great local support and support by federal officials in the region. It has added valuable open spaces in place of lands that previously were of low public use.

The auctions, totaling billions of dollars and astonishing many by the size of their revenue, have eliminated the challenge and controversies of land exchanges -- which have been fraught with problems, especially in Nevada. Why don't we explore whether and how this model might be applied to other areas, helping us trade lower importance lands for high value lands within a state or region?

Idea of the Day is inspired by the President's America's Great Outdoors Initiative to connect Americans to the outdoors and its IdeaJam blog. ARC’s submissions to the blog can be found if you click here. Additional ideas that have been submitted to IdeaJam can be found in our September 2010 newsletter, which is here.