Instead of saying what if, realize that in many ways, each OIF and OEF veteran today already has 100 acres! I had the privilege of speaking to a packed house at the Bureau of Land Management today as they launched their new website, www.blm.gov/veterans to ensure veterans, spouses, and military youth are aware of all the opportunities available on BLM land for employment and for recreation.
There were two statistics that were brought up that got me really excited about the work that the BLM is doing:
1. As quoted by Anzanette Randall, herself a 12+ year Army Veteran and the BLM Branch Manager for Recruitment and Retention, nearly 20% of all BLM employees ARE veterans. However, they don't think they're doing enough! So what does that mean? If you're a veteran, there's a good chance there's a home for you at the BLM!
2. The BLM manages over 245 million acres of land. With the estimated number of veterans who are either still serving or who have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) or Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) at 2.3 million, that means that each veteran could go out to BLM lands all at the same time, and each veteran would have access to 102 acres of public land and if coordinated correctly, you wouldn't even have to see another soul!
You defended that land. You have access to that land. That land is beautiful and part of your American democracy. Get out and use it!
Many thanks go out to the BLM and their forward thinking Director, Bob Abbey, for the great support of our military community! We at the Sierra Club are excited about working with the fine folks at the BLM and keep an eye on this space as we build out joint programming to get you out on your land...if you haven't been yet!