Many Americans, certainly those east of the Mississippi, are probably not familiar with the Bureau of Land Management or BLM. Even among those of us who pay attention to public land policy, the agency is the least studied and least written about, often characterized as the youngest and perhaps weakest of the four major land management bureaus. Yet, of course, the agency manages more of the public lands than anyone and cares for a wealth of natural and historic resources, while dealing with the myriad of users who come to use and enjoy those resources. Often when BLM management is discussed we learn about how it is a "multiple-use" management agency, and how it is supposed to protect resources while allowing (sometimes folks say catering) to user groups such as the mining industry and ranchers. What we don't hear too much about are the individuals and policies that protect resources under the name of law enforcement. Dennis McLane has now told that story for us, and it is a fascinating one. John Freemuth, Ph.D., CASE/Carnegie Professor of the Year, 2001, Senior Fellow, Cecil Andrus Center for Public Policy, Professor of Political Science, Boise State University.


With the confusion over Bundy, a book by Dennis McLane is suddenly relevant. The BLM has remained relatively obscure to the general public despite its new legal mandate. It has never been funded very well for management (except for minerals). Nonetheless, they do have law enforcement, and recent a major (and probably the only) book (564 pages) on this has been written. It is by Dennis McLane of Boise, Idaho. It is Seldom Was Heard an Encouraging Word, A History of Bureau of Land Management Law Enforcement.  Dennis McLane has a Guest Opinion in the Idaho Statesman about Bundy. “BLM prevented from doing its lawful work in Nevada standoff.”  Comments published on the Wildlife News website at    By Dr. Ralph Maughan who is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialities in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections.

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