Federal Lands:

Public Land Access

T-RCED-94-72: Published: Nov 9, 1993. Publicly Released: Nov 9, 1993.

Additional Materials:


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GAO discussed the lack of public access to federal land, focusing on the Forest Service's and the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) efforts to resolve access problems. GAO noted that: (1) about 14 percent of the land managed by the Forest Service and BLM lacks adequate public access; (2) private landowners' major reasons for not granting the public access to cross their land concern vandalism, potential liability, and their desire for privacy or exclusive use; (3) inadequate access to federal land can reduce the public's recreational opportunities and interfere with the agencies' land management activities; (4) the Forest Service and BLM can use fee simple acquisitions or perpetual easements to acquire public access; and (5) in fiscal years 1989 through 1991, the Forest Service and BLM acquired permanent, legal public access to about 4.5 million acres of federal land.

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