Federal Land Management:

Authorized Uses in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

RCED-97-117R: Published: Apr 17, 1997. Publicly Released: Apr 24, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the number of mineral leases, grazing permits, and other use authorizations for Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-managed land within the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

GAO noted that: (1) there were 111 oil, gas, and coal leases, 70 mining claims, 74 grazing allotments, 80 rights-of-way, and a variety of other land-use authorizations for this BLM-managed land as of April 1, 1997; (2) the monument also contains 14 wilderness study areas that cover about 880,000 acres and restrict the types and extent of activities that may occur within their boundaries; (3) it also includes almost 190,000 acres of state and private lands, to which BLM must allow access; (4) of the 89 oil and gas leases, 6 have operating oil wells, which produce about 240,000 barrels of oil each year, according to a BLM official; (5) of the 22 coal leases, none has been developed; (6) as of April 1, 1997, there were 70 claims for locatable minerals, such as gold and silver; (7) the monument also contains 11 mineral material sites, covering over 560 acres; (8) according to BLM officials and maps of livestock grazing allotments, 74 allotments cover most of the 1.7 million acres of the monument, although not all acres within the allotments are suitable for livestock grazing; (9) about 84 operators have permits for approximately 77,000 active animal unit months each year; (10) rights-of-way are also present within the monument; (11) the 80 rights-of-way in the monument cover a total of about 7,800 acres; (12) as of April 1, 1997, 12 applications for rights-of-way were pending approval; (13) other land-use authorizations include special and commercial recreation permits, which total about 50 annually; (14) these permits are issued for the activities of outfitters and guides and for other uses such as wilderness training and the making of one or two films annually; and (15) BLM also issued about 430 wood-collection permits in 1996 for the area covered by the monument.

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