Post-World War II Phase

During World War II and for most of two decades following it, the federal management of public lands went along with nationwide initiatives to stimulate national growth and international security. In 1946, the Grazing Service merged with General Land Office to form the BLM, the entity that oversees

the majority of the public lands in the western United States. The pressure to harvest resources from these lands intensified with the need for materials for war and the expansion of American consumption with the massive growth of its middle class.

With the beginnings of environmentalism in the late 1950s, many Americans grew more concerned that public lands were not subject to environmental assessment prior to use. This shift in overall ethics is generally accepted to have grown from the effort to prevent the damming of the Green River in Dinosaur National Park in 1954. Although the environmental movement influenced land use in national parks to a much greater degree, the public lands shifted more toward a compromise philosophy of ‘‘multiple use.’’

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