On Friday, Oct. 21, the Anasazi Heritage Center is offering free admission to the main archaeology museum and special exhibit of ancient basketry.
The free day celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Federal Land Policy Management Act, which governs the Bureau of Land Management. FLPMA, a federal law enacted by the 94th Congress and signed by President Gerald Ford on Oct. 21, 1976, significantly changed the way the public lands are managed by the federal government and shaped BLM into the agency it is today.
FLPMA was the product of the bipartisan Public Land Law Review Commission established by Congress in 1964, who published the report “One Third of the Nation’s Land” in 1970 that detailed recommendations on how the nation’s public lands should be managed. However, it took three successive congresses deliberating over the details of the bill before it was finally passed in 1976.
As the bill that gave birth to BLM’s mission and management responsibilities, FLPMA is called BLM’s Organic Act. It proclaims “multiple use,” “sustained yield” and “environmental protection” as the guiding principles for public land management. In the act, Congress first recognized the value of public lands to U.S. citizens and stated that the public lands and their resources should be managed “so that they are utilized in the combination that will best meet the present and future needs of the American people.”
FLPMA also declared that remaining public domain lands would be retained in federal ownership unless disposal of a particular parcel was deemed to serve the national interest; a significant reversal to U.S. public lands policy. Many other land and resource management authorities were established, amended, or repealed by FLPMA, including provisions on federal land withdrawals, land acquisitions and exchanges, rights-of-way, advisory groups, range management and the administration of BLM and the public lands.
The museum is at 27501 Colorado Highway 184, west of Dolores. Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. March through October and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November through February.