Most of the public land owned by the federal government is managed by four agencies: the Interior Department's Fish & Wildlife Service (F&WS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Park Service (NPS) and the Agriculture Department's U.S. Forest Service (Forest Service).
The NPS and F&WS are responsible for the nation's natural and historical resources -- the parks, monuments and wildlife refuges, where commercial activities, such as mining and energy development, are generally prohibited.
The lands held by BLM and the Forest Service are the country's natural resource storehouses, such as timber, coal, and onshore oil and gas reserves. Wilderness designations, where development and commercial activities are strictly prohibited in order to maintain the natural characteristics of the area, are throughout the land holdings of all four land management agencies.
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