WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today on the National Landscape Conservation System Act (H.R. 2016):
“This bill provides long overdue authorization to an eight-year initiative of both Democratic and Republican Administrations, establishing the National Landscape Conservation System and ensuring an institutional home for all areas with special conservation status that are managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
“The system consists of more than 26 million acres of land, about 10% of the land managed by BLM, and includes: National Monuments, National Conservation Areas, Wilderness, Wilderness Study Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, and National and Scenic Trails. These outstanding natural resources deserve the type of focus and institutional attention this legislation will provide, and will ensure that the conservation values that caused Congress to give them special status are protected.
“Many think of BLM as a western public lands agency, but that is not the case. I am particularly pleased that one of the units in this system, the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, traverses Maryland’s 5th Congressional District. The Conservation System includes 13 National Scenic and Historic Trails, covering over 5,500 miles.
“The portion of Potomac Heritage Trail in my district is only 14 miles south of the Beltway on the east side of the Potomac River. This area is the first BLM designated Heritage National Scenic Trail segment in the East. It is managed jointly by the BLM and the State of Maryland through the Department of Natural Resources. The BLM segment of the trail travels through 540 acres in Charles County known as the Douglas Point property.
“I am pleased that today Congress is providing needed national attention and focus to these important lands.”