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Public Lands: Reasons for Change
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
Reasons for Change
Preventing Pollution
Public Education
Complete List of Links

Essential Links:

Ecosystem Valuation
Describes how economists value the beneficial ways that ecosystems affect people. It is designed for...

Environmental Policy and Guidance
Information about recent federal regulatory initiatives plus a repository for over 1800 documents an...

Public lands are unique places providing diverse natural and cultural resources for the enjoyment and education of visitors. Waste and pollution can be produced by visitor activities, visitor services and maintenance of lands and facilities. Managers may sometimes feel they are putting more emphasis on managing and protecting the public than the resources. With increasing visitors and decreasing budgets, public land managers find it increasingly difficult to be either good resource stewards or provide positive visitor experiences.

Benefits of Preventive Measures

Pollution prevention can protect the natural diversity and processes contained in public lands. The ultimate benefits of this are only beginning to be understood, but this concept is an ideal that most public land managers share and are highly motivated to achieve. In an immediate context, pollution prevention also has practical benefits such as increasing compliance with regulations, increasing facility and maintenance efficiencies and freeing up precious dollars for infrastructure, interpretation, payrolls, research, etc. In short, pollution prevention identifies and eliminates long-term costs to the environment while also addressing more short-term costs.

Specific types of cost savings that can be achieved through pollution prevention include:

  • reduced or eliminated hazardous product management costs
  • reduced operational costs through energy, materials and water savings (e.g. install efficient equipment, put in appropriate landscapes, use conservation practices and renewable sources)
  • reduced waste disposal costs (e.g. use fewer disposable products, increase durability of design, compost, etc.)
  • reduced repair and replacement costs (e.g. use durable and repairable equipment and products)
  • reduced safety and health costs (e.g. use less toxic products, increase day lighting, etc.)
  • reduced or eliminated restoration costs (e.g. prevent development of sensitive areas, build in harmony with the ecosystem, prevent pollution with best management practices, etc.)

Unfortunately, public lands are affected by pollution in surrounding areas and communities well beyond the protection of public land managers. At the same time, they provide a unique learning laboratory for visitors and employees where there is an opportunity to develop environmental stewardship ethic with far reaching results. As public lands take a leadership role in education, they will be enhancing environmental health and visitor experience both within and outside of their boundaries.

Pollution prevention helps public lands comply with directives and regulations such as, but not limited to, the following:

The links in this section describe regulatory issues in more detail and also provide background on some of the broader philosophical reasons to prevent pollution on public lands.


The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The Public Lands Topic Hub™ was developed by:

Peaks to Prairies Pollution Prevention Center
Peaks to Prairies Pollution Prevention Center
Contact email:

Hub Last Updated: 12/4/2012