Federal Lands:

Public Land Access

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

Additional Materials:

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(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

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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