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Just 12 miles west of Las Vegas, the colorful, bare sandstone of the aptly named Rainbow Mountain Wilderness emerges from the valley floor, standing guard over the surrounding pinyon-juniper forest and Mojave Desert scrub below. Its sheer, towering red and white cliffs are cut by rugged, narrow, twisting canyons lined with willow, ash, and hackberry trees. 

Encompassing 24,997 acres, this desert wonderland dominates the western view of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and is managed jointly by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. 

With springs, sandstone ‘pothole’ water tanks, and an elevation range of 3,000 feet, topping out at the 7,070-foot summit of Mount Wilson, the wilderness supports a wide variety of wildlife and unique plant communities. Deep, cool canyons host chain ferns as much as six feet tall and ponderosa pines, which usually thrive at higher elevations like the rocky outcrops further up the mountainsides. 

Desert bighorn sheep, mountain lion, bobcats, mule deer, coyote, foxes, bats, squirrels, and numerous bird species also make their home in the Rainbow Mountain Wilderness.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

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We’re kicking off the weekend with a photo collection from last week’s Burning Man event in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert – the largest Leave No Trace event in the world, authorized under the most complex special recreation permit issued by the BLM.  All photos were taken by BLM employees assisting with event safety, logistics and more.

And if you like the Burning Man photos, you’ll want to see the Burning Man videos by Jayson Barangan from BLM Arizona. Check them out on the BLM Nevada’s YouTube — Embrace: Art on Nevada’s Public Lands; 12:00 on the Playa; and Embracing the Moment

Learn more about Burning Man here» http://tmblr.co/Z9wNeu1ObgRGT .

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Burning Man 2014 Kicks Off This Weekend!

Leave No Trace practices are the cornerstone of Burning Man — the largest and most complex Special Recreation Permit  that the BLM manages. Because the event is located on BLM’s National Conservation Lands – the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area – the Bureau’s primary responsibility is to ensure the protection of the natural and cultural values in the area.

There is a very interesting nexus between the NCA and Burning Man’s theme this year, ‘Caravansary.’ One of the cultural resources contained within the NCA is the Applegate Historic Trail—the longest stretch of protected and intact emigrant trail in the United States used by early pioneers. The NCA also contains several designated wilderness areas—special places where the earth and its community of life are essentially undisturbed.

NCAs are managed by the BLM to conserve, protect and enhance these special lands for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. Often NCAs are places to seek solitude and a natural experience away from urban areas. Because of their special status, public enjoyment of these lands should be accompanied by a commitment to protect and preserve these areas.

As participants in this year’s event, known as “burners,” make their way to the playa, it serves as a reminder to all of us enjoying public lands to not only minimize our footprint but also to understand our impacts beyond the boundaries of conservation areas.

CLICK HERE for more information about BLM’s National Conservation Lands and outdoor ethics.  Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

Cross bedding in Aztec Sandstone at Muddy Mountains Wilderness. Just an hour north of Las Vegas, Nevada lies the Muddy Mountains Wilderness, a place of wonder and mystery, an area of outrageous geology and colorful Mojave Desert habitat. With a combined 48,019 acres, this region of shadowy slot canyon, striking geological formations and expansive views of Lake Mead is jointly managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service.

Photo: Chip Carroon

Happy Mother's Day!

Just in time for Mother’s Day, the Bureau of Land Management celebrated National Wildflower Week (May 5-11) on social media with photos of wildflowers from our public lands. 

BLM-Nevada

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Mojave Indigo Bush (Psorothamnus) are shrubs. They are generally thorny, thickly branched, strongly-scented bushes. The species bear bright purple legume flowers and gland-rich pods. Photo by Chelise Simmons.

BLM-Montana

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Crepis modocensis — Modoc hawksbeard, is a yellow flower, seen here with a Mormon Metalmark butterfly. Hawksbeards are a prized sage-grouse food in the spring. BLM photo taken off the Grove Creek Road near the foothills of the Beartooth Mountains.

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Eurybia conspicua — Western showy aster flowers between July and early September. BLM photo taken in Crooked Creek near the Pryor Mountains.

BLM-Wyoming

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Pasque flower (Anemone Patens) blooms from April to June in well-drained soils in steps and foot hills, and mountain zones. They have deeply cup-shaped lavender and blue flowers with five to seven petal-like sepals and have many yellow stamens in the center.

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Arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) flowers begin blooming in late spring.

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Larkspurs (Delphinium spp.) have bright blue and purple flowers blooming from May through July. If eaten in large quantities, they can be poisonous.

BLM-Alaska

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Alaska is full of wildflowers in the spring and summer. This whiteish flower is the Labrador Tea blossoms from along the Table Top Mountain Trail in the BLM White Mountains Receration Area. Photo by BLM Craig McCaa.

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Epilobium angustifolium, commonly known as Fireweed gets its name because it grows very well in areas after a fire has cleared away the vegetation. It grows very tall and has bright pink blossoms.

Fireweed is edible and known to be a good source of Vitamin C. It is also used to make Alaska Native medicine, candies, syrups, jellies and even ice cream. Many Alaskans gauge the length of summer by Fireweed. The blossoms begin to open from the bottom of the stalk and work their way up as the summer continues. When the last blooms open on the top of the stalks, summer is over and fall is on its way.

BLM-Idaho

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Shooting star flowers are both beautiful and interesting to observe. The four or five petals are bright pinkish-purple or sometimes white, about 3/4 to 1 inch long, and flare backward. The stamens are fused together forming a point or “beak” at the tip of the flower. This combination of features gives the flowers the appearance of a shooting star.

Shooting star wildflowers bloom from April through July and may be found growing in lower elevation valleys, forests, and mountain meadows on BLM lands in northern, central, and southern Idaho. 

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Over 150 native forbs can be found in the North Fork Owyhee Wilderness.

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day from all of us at BLM!

This year, we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area has set aside 800,000 acres within 10 wilderness areas of this rugged yet pristine land.  Photo: BLM Nevada

#GetOutdoors #backyard2backcountry

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