The BLM was established in 1946 when the General Land Office and the U.S. Grazing Service were merged.
The Bureau of Land Management goes back to the beginning of the United States. The Land Ordinance of 1785 was basically the start of it, providing laws for land settlement and the original 13 colonies. The General Land Office was established to provide exploration as more land was discovered and available for settlement. With the shift in management priorities and the creation of national parks, refuges and forests, goals for public lands became different. Then in the 20th century, Congress recognized the assets of public lands and shifted more management into the Executive Branch’s hands. Other laws were established to do with exploration and resource use, and in 1946 the Grazing Service and the General Land Office merged to form the Bureau of Land Management within the Department of the Interior. They had their first legislative mandate in 1976 when congress enacted the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, where value of remaining public lands were recognized and the lands would remain in public ownership.
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