From summer 2016 to summer 2017, CSEPP helped the Bureau of Land Management gather community input for their land use management plan for the Applegate Valley. Instead of developing a plan and facing criticism from BLM’s neighbors when the plan is publicized, BLM learned community priorities first, so that they could incorporate them into the proposed plan and implement it more smoothly. In addition, residents had opportunities to share concerns and ideas directly with the BLM, and the BLM had opportunities to share their decision space with residents. Many residents expressed gratitude for these opportunities, and several possibilities were identified to make the plan work better for residents while also being feasible for the BLM. As a result, CSEPP has witnessed a decrease of unreasonable expectations and negative myths about the BLM, and a renewed energy for collaboration.
The community relations strategies that BLM has learned from CSEPP will continue to influence BLM’s work in other projects. If done well, this will allow the BLM to plan and implement future projects more smoothly on their land, with better results for neighbors and less public resistance for the BLM.