Public Lands and Resources Planning and Management: Policies, Tools, and Legislation

AuthorElaine L. Hughes, Arlene J. Kwasniak, Alastair R. Lucas
Arlene J Kwasniak
Since confederation, governments have taken a var iety of approaches to
the management of public lands and resources. The progression, if that
is what it is, may be seen as comi ng from an early need to settle and use
public lands to the maximum extent possible, to a more measured ap-
proach that recognize s the benef‌its of ecological values of public lands
while continuing to reap economic benef‌its from them. Section B of this
chapter describes some key public lands approaches in concept and pro-
vides Canadi an examples of how these approaches have been incor por-
ated into public lands and resources management, including through
planning. Section C discusses adaptive man agement and how it may
play a role with respect to public lands and resources management.
Section D looks at how government might use a public lands reser va-
tion/notation system to tr ack interests and dispositions on public lands,
reserve area s, and provide notice of sensitive or other identif‌ied values
of public lands and resources. Section E provides an overview on how
legislation and policies authorize a nd direct public lands and resources
1) Multiple Use
Steven Kennett broadly characterizes multiple use as being “based on
the premise that public land s have a variety of values and can simul-
taneously meet the needs of many users. The objective is to encourage
complementary uses and ba lance competing uses in order to maximi ze
aggregate benef‌its.”1 The Kennett passage emphasizes the utilitarian
underpinnings of multiple use la nd use approaches that would maxi-
mize the use of public resources for the g reatest benef‌its. The multiple-
use approach, or philosophy, has been traced back to US utilitar ian
conservationist Gifford Pinchot in the 1940s2 and in the next few dec-
ades was ref‌lected in var ious public la nds statutes in the United States.3
It should be underlined, though, that a multiple use approach does not
necessarily involve making all possible benef‌icial us es of an area of
public land at the same time (e.g., forestry, grazing, wildlife, oil and
gas production, recreation). With an area of land whose “highest and
best use” is to produce timber, sustained timber production use might
be most benef‌icial to society — in accorda nce with utilitari an theory —
while permittin g other uses concomitantly that are consistent with t hat
1 Steven A Kennett, New D irections for Public Land Law, CIRL Occas ional Paper
#4 (Calgary: Ca nadian Institute of Re sources Law, 1998) at 10.
2 Gifford Pinchot, Bre aking New Ground (New York: Harcour t Brace, 1947), re-
ferred to by Har rison Loesch, As sistant Secretar y for Public Land Management,
US Department of t he Interior, in “Multiple Uses of Public La nds, Accom-
modation, or Choosi ng between Conf‌licting Use s” (1971) 16 Rocky Mountain
Mineral Law Institute 1, where i n the text surrounding note 13 L oesch relates
the following quote f rom Pinchot: “[f]rom the f‌irst I thought I had stumbled on
something re ally worth while, but that day i n Rock Creek Park I was far from
grasping t he full reach and swin g of the new idea . . . . It took time for me to
appreciate that he re were the makings of a new polic y, not merely n ationwide
but world-wide in scope . . . . [S]o far as I knew the n or have since been able to
f‌ind out, it had occur red to nobody, in this country or abroa d, that here was
one question inste ad of many, one gigantic single problem that mu st be solved
if the generation s, as they came and went, were to live c ivilized, happy, useful
lives in the la nds which the Lord their Go d had given them . . . . When the use
of all the natu ral resources for the common good i s seen to be a common policy
with a common pur pose, the chance for the wi se use of each of them becomes
inf‌initely g reater than it had ever been b efore . . . .
3 For example, the US Multiple Use, Sustai ned Yield Act of 1960, 16 USC §§ 528 –31,
and the US Federal Land Ma nagement and Policy Act of 1976, 43 USC ch 35.

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