Publication Date



Congress passed the Wilderness Act of 1964 "to secure for
the American people of present and future generations the
benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness." When it
passed the Act, Congress preserved over 9 million acres of
federal lands; and since then, the National Wilderness
Preservation System has been expanded by more than 100
million acres. The Act requires the federal agencies to
manage the wilderness areas to preserve their wilderness
character and to leave the lands unimpaired for future
Wildlife is an integral part of what makes wilderness
worth preserving. Despite the vital role wildlife plays in
wilderness management, the Bureau of Land Management
(BLM) has delegated the primary authority to manage
wildlife in wilderness to the states. The BLM's ongoing
policy of delegating wildlife management to the states is
wrong for four reasons. First, it violates the express
mandates of the Wilderness Act that require the BLM to
administer the wilderness to preserve wilderness character.
Second, it abrogates the federal government's primary

authority under the Property Clause over wildlife on federal
lands including wilderness. Third, it is inconsistent with
lower-court precedent concluding that federal agencies may
not delegate their authority to outside entities absent an
affirmative showing of congressional intent to allow such
delegation. Fourth, this delegation to the states leads to
undesirable outcomes that Congress sought to avoid by
enacting the Wilderness Act. Therefore, this Note argues
that the BLM should modify its regulations to more actively
control wildlife management in wilderness thereby
fulfilling its mandates under the Wilderness Act and
complying with federal precedent.