BLM hopes monthly online videos will help engage public

The Bureau of Land Management hopes to go viral with its newest way to reach the minions: a YouTube presentation that it would like to see shared in an ever-expanding Internet.

“I’m hoping it gets a million hits,” said Mary Jo Rugwell, district manager for the BLM Southern Nevada, of December’s release.

It was the first in a series called Our Side of the Story and can be viewed at

That first video is called “The Sky’s the Limit” and features rock climbing, which was chosen as the first topic because fall is when the season kicks off.

The video lasts 5 minutes and 41 seconds and includes advice for those who are new to the sport and talks about entry fees and overnight use. Ten days into the month, it had 253 hits. By Dec. 20, it had 699.

The goal is to unveil a new video each month. Future topics are to be on wild horses and burros, law enforcement, solar energy and fire issues.

“It’s a vision we’ve had for a long time, a way to make use of the new social media,” said Hillerie Patton, public affairs specialist for the BLM Las Vegas Field Office. “It lets people know that this is what we do … It shows the human side to some of these issues.”

The cyber vehicle for reaching park users was seen as a way to keep the public informed.

“A lot of people don’t read the newspaper, not in paper form, anymore,” Rugwell said. “They read it online. They go to Facebook and YouTube … for us to be able to get the word out about issues, we need to be able to connect with every generation.”

That being said, a video blog with Rugwell also is in the works. There’s no word on when it will be released.

A team of four BLM workers puts together the Our Side of the Story videos. Patton is one of them. She said she uses her spare time to work on the videos.

Actual filming takes far less time than editing the pieces together. The latter can take a full week, Patton said. The YouTube presentations will use only newly shot images.

“If we can shoot video at (one time) for multiple topics, we get more bang out of our buck,” Patton said.

January’s topic covers a portion of the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act and how it plays into the growth of Las Vegas. Future videos likely also will delve into other parts of the act, tackling one aspect at a time of the expansive piece of legislation.

Expect a new video to be released the first week of each month.

It’s possible the videos will be available on the BLM’s website in the future. Right now, copies can be made available to the public upon request, Patton said.

For more information, visit

Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at or 387-2949.

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