To enhance the recreational use of public lands by the disabled, the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Disabled Sports USA (DS/USA). The MOU creates a cooperative framework for the development and expansion of joint programs and activities designed to increase recreational access to the 245 million acres the BLM manages by disabled veterans and others with permanent disabilities.
“The Department of the Interior and the BLM are committed to ensuring equal access to outdoor recreation on public lands-particularly those activities that require specialized equipment or instruction,” said Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes. “This MOU advances that important effort.”
BLM Director Bob Abbey added, “The long-term relationship the BLM and Disabled Sports USA [has] established…will cultivate dialogue, generate ideas, and enhance access for persons with disabilities to outdoor activities on BLM-managed lands.” The MOU will remain in effect for five years, at which point the BLM and DS/USA can renew the agreement.
The MOU also aims to increase the participation of America’s wounded and disabled veterans and others with disabilities in the BLM’s public land-use planning process, including access-enhancement projects and safety and environmental education programs.
“We at Disabled Sports USA welcome the MOU with the Bureau of Land Management,” said Kirk Bauer, executive director of DS/USA. “Because of innovations in adaptive equipment and an increase in trained instructors, those of us with disabilities are experiencing greater accessibility to public lands. This represents a wonderful opportunity to enjoy healthy, outdoor activities on public lands.”