The Wilderness Society, however, hailed the new policy and said that ever since the settlement was reached, there has been widespread "confusion" among BLM and National Park Service employees about how, or even whether, the BLM should be evaluating and managing public lands with wilderness values.
"This policy recognizes the BLM's statutory obligation to protect the natural qualities of lands in its stewardship, and gives stakeholders their rightful place in the process," said William H. Meadows, president of the organization.
Before the policy is finalized and a "final" order is issued, Salazar has sent a draft to state BLM offices seeking input. That process is expected to take a month.
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