GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The proximity to federal land has made rural communities on The Western Slope well known for their outdoor lifestyles. “We thought we made a wonderful case for BLM to be on The Western slope in Grand Junction,” Cody Davis, Mesa County Commissioner said, “Grand Junction is the gateway to public lands in the United States.”
Days after Secretary Haaland announced her plan to relocate the BLM headquarters back to Washington, D.C., many local and state officials announced their disappointment in the decision. “To only give it, what a year maybe less to determine whether it was successful or not, I don’t know if that was a fair process,” Janice Rich, Colorado State Representative said.
One representative says a major reason the BLM headquarters were relocated to Grand Junction in the first place was to allow the organization to be closer to the land it manages. “The federal land is not in Washington, D.C. and I really believe that BLM could be better served being where federal land actually exists,” Representative Rich said.
Even with the headquarters relocating back to the Capitol, the BLM will still have a presence in Grand Junction. “We did get a bit of a participation ribbon if you will with Grand Junction being designated as the Western headquarters, we don’t really know what that means,” Commissioner Davis said.
Under Secretary Haaland’s plan, BLM will grow and expand as the official Western headquarters, but how that will be enforced is still in the air. “I will just have to wait and see what they mean by that,” Representative said, “Are we going to go back to just having BLM officers here, or are they really going to have a western Slope presence.”