BLMUtah

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February #conservationlands15 Social Media Takeover: What is a National Monument?

The Antiquities Act of 1906 was signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt, for “… the protection of objects of historic and scientific interest” through the designation of national monuments by the President and Congress. National monuments are one of the types of specially-designated areas that make up the BLM’s National Conservation Lands.

Some of the earliest national monuments included Devils Tower, the Grand Canyon, and Death Valley. They were initially protected by the War Department, then later by the National Park Service.  More recently, the BLM and other Federal agencies have retained stewardship responsibilities for national monuments on public lands. In fact, the BLM manages more acres of national monuments in the continental U. S. than any other agency.  This includes the largest land-based national monument, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah featured here.

National monuments under the BLM’s stewardship have yielded numerous scientific discoveries, ranging from fossils of previously unknown dinosaurs to new theories about prehistoric cultures.  They provide places to view some of America’s darkest night skies, most unique wildlife, and treasured archaeological resources.   In total, twenty BLM-managed national monuments, covering over five million acres, are found throughout the western U. S. and offer endless opportunities for discovery.

Photos and description by Bob Wick, BLM

Note: The #conservationlands15 Social Media Takeover is a 2015 monthly celebration of the 15th anniversary of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands.

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Gypsym Addiction

For Endangered Species Day we want to highlight the dwarf bearclaw poppy, which has been a federally listed endangered species since 1979. A plant or animal is listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 when it is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. 

The dwarf bearclaw poppy (Arctomecon humilis), is a gypsophile or gypsum-loving plant, having a distinct preference for the gypsum rich soils found in the upper layers of the geologic Moenkopi Formation. It is endemic- or found only in a certain locality or region – to Washington County, Utah, growing at elevations between 2,600 and 3,300 feet. Today, there are only five small populations of dwarf bearclaw poppy remaining, all within a ten mile radius of St George, Utah! 

Photo: Melissa Buchmann, Recreation Intern for BLM-Utah

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Celebrating Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument’s Golden Birthday! 

The vast and austere landscape of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) offers a spectacular array of scientific and historic resources. Encompassing 1.9 million acres, the Monument was created on September 18, 1996 by presidential proclamation – the first monument entrusted to BLM management. World-class dinosaur excavations have yielded more information about ecosystem change at the end of the dinosaur era than almost any other place in the world. Among the fossil finds, paleontologists have identified dinosaurs not previously known to have inhabited this region, as well as several new species.

The vast landscapes of GSENM offers visitors a variety of recreational opportunities for a wide range of users. From the solitude of lonesome canyons to the excitement of winding rugged backways, the Monument is truly a treasure.

Plan your visit and learn more: http://on.doi.gov/1fJIy7a

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM 

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We end this ‘Wilderness Wednesday’ with the solitude of the BLM-managed Cottonwood Canyon Wilderness in Utah.

The approximately 11,700 acre wilderness is a part of the newly-designated Red Cliffs National Conservation Area and shares a common boundary with the Cottonwood Forest Wilderness. Here, massive blocks of Jurassic-age Navajo Sandstone have been eroded by wind and water, leaving rounded domes and numerous small canyons. The resulting landscape is both austere and intimate. #Wilderness50

Photo: Bob Wick, BLM

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Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument Makes Outside Magazine’s “Best Places for Night Sky Viewing”

Check out Outside Magazine’s list of best places for night sky viewing.  The article includes areas designated by the International Dark-Sky Association or IDA to stargaze—especially places absent the yellow haze of light pollution. Arizona’s Parashant International Dark Sky Province is the latest, in 2014, to earn the hat tip from the IDA. The providence includes the pristine, breathtaking skies above 1.05 million acres of land in northwest Arizona at Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument.

A part of the Bureau of Land Management’s National Conservation Lands, the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument is a vast, biologically diverse landscape encompassing an array of scientific and historic objects. The BLM and National Park Service jointly manage the Monument, which was established by presidential proclamation in 2000. Valuable geological resources are located within the Monument boundaries, including relatively undeformed and unobscured Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rock layers and abundant fossils,  which offer a clear view of the geologic history of the Colorado Plateau. The Monument also contains outstanding biological resources including giant Mojave yucca, trophy-quality mule deer, California condor, desert tortoise, and southwestern willow flycatcher. 

Visit the BLM’s website to learn more about the area

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM Wilderness Specialist

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BLM in Film: We end our #oscar countdown with Fisher Towers in Utah, a National Recreation Trail and one of the most iconic hiking destinations in the entire BLM system of trails.

The hiking trail hugs the cliffs under the soaring Fisher Towers, the tallest of which is called “The Titan”. The towers are composed of Moenkopi and Cutler sandstones, and have eroded into many fantastical shapes. Hike this trail and you’ll find yourself in a location that has “starred” in many movies and commercials, from John Wayne’s Commancheros and Wagon Train to Billy Crystal’s City Slickers II and John Carter of Mars.

The Fisher Towers trail is 2.2 miles long (4hrs round-trip) and features a ladder which helps hikers negotiate a difficult section. Off in the distance you see the Colorado River, Castle Valley, Fisher Mesa, and the Book Cliffs of eastern Utah.

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Need an open space to fight an alien invasion, or explore a pirate’s world? Maybe a deserted location to land a plane? Or maybe you just have a need for speed.  Not a problem - we’ve got you covered with our countdown to the #Oscars. Follow along as we feature public lands that double as movie sets.

Managed by the BLM as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern and Special Recreation Management Area, the Bonneville Salt Flats are a 30,000 acre expanse of hard, white salt crust on the western edge of the Great Salt Lake basin in Utah. “Bonneville” is also on the National Register of Historic Landmarks because of its contribution to land speed racing. The salt flats are about 12 miles long and 5 miles wide with total area coverage of just over 46 square miles. Near the center of the salt, the crust is almost 5 feet thick in places, with the depth tapering off to less than 1 inch as you get to the edges. Total salt crust volume has been estimated at 147 million tons or 99 million cubic yards of salt!

The remote and rugged Bonneville Salt Flats serve as a fitting backdrop for Independence Day, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Con Air, The World’s Fastest Indian, Mulholland Falls, and many more films.

Learn more about the history of this unique location: http://on.doi.gov/1EuCmOU

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Looking for a new place to explore or somewhere special to take your family? 

You should visit one of BLM-Utah’s many Areas of Critical Environmental Concern.  ACECs, as they’re often called, are special management areas designated through our land use planning process to protect important resource values.  These values vary from ACEC to ACEC and can include things like rock art, endangered plants, wildlife habitat or spectacular scenery.

The Valley of the Gods ACEC in southeastern Utah is a hidden gem. Protected for its incredible scenic value, the area offers beautiful Cedar Mesa sandstone monoliths, towering pinnacles and wide open spaces that seem to go on forever. In fact, the Salt Lake Tribune and KUED-Channel 7 featured the ACEC in this year’s ‘Utah Bucket List’ series—highlighting the annual Bluff International Balloon Festival’s morning flight over the Valley of the Gods as a Utah must see!  

Before you visit the Valley of the Gods ACEC, be sure to print a guide to help you identify the massive sandstone formations. You can get the guide here: http://on.doi.gov/1iv6KRB.

For more information visit http://bit.ly/13EP8hk.

Photos by BLMers: Andrea kachulus, Robert Leaver, and Bob Wick

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BLM Winter Bucket List #5:  Valley of the Gods, Utah, for Red Rock Flying

Public lands offer some of the most beautiful, unencumbered red rock flying in the Southwest! 

In fact, the Salt Lake Tribune and KUED-Channel 7 featured the Annual Bluff International Balloon Festival’s morning flight over the Valley of the Gods in this year’s ‘Utah Bucket List’ series. 

The Valley of the Gods in southeastern Utah is a hidden gem. Known for its incredible scenic value, the area offers beautiful Cedar Mesa sandstone monoliths, towering pinnacles and wide open spaces that seem to go on forever. But don’t take our word for it…see it for yourself January 16-19 in Bluff, Utah!

Before you visit the area, be sure to print a guide to help you identify the massive sandstone formations. You can get the guide here: http://on.doi.gov/1iv6KRB.

For more information on this year’s event visit - http://bit.ly/13EP8hk.

Photos by BLMers: Andrea Kachulus, Robert Leaver, and Jason Kirks

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BLM Winter Bucket List #19: Gooseberry Mesa National Recreation Trail, Utah, for Challenging Biking Terrain and Spectacular Views

Developed cooperatively in the late 1990’s, Gooseberry Mesa National Recreation Trail (NRT) is located in southern Utah’s red rock country, and received National Recreation Trail status in 2006. At an elevation of 5,200 feet, views from the mesa rims are spectacular.  Rising to the north are the massive sandstone sentinels of Zion National Park. Spread out below the west rim is a panorama of colorful desert mesas and water carved canyons.

Deemed the “new cool kid in town” in the @KSLnews article “3 Compelling Reasons to Visit St. George This Winter,”  BLM Utah’s Gooseberry Mesa offers exceptional riding year round! 

Learn more and plan a visit: http://on.doi.gov/1xmy9qE

Photos by Iris Picat

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Harrisburg Ghost Town, Utah - A Pioneer Community 

Red Cliffs Recreation Area is immensely popular for its easy access to water, and spectacular landscape. In 1859, water was also one of the primary reasons Moses Harris founded Harrisburg in this small valley, now know as the Red Cliffs Recreation Area, within the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. 

In 1862 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “called” the Adams family, among others, to settle in Harrisburg. Quail and Leeds Creek, through a system of ditches, delivered enough water to sustain them until Leeds Creek was diverted to the new settlement of Leeds, further up the road. Water became scarce and the population of Harrisburg began to dwindle. Church meetings ended by 1891, but the Adams family remained until 1892, when Orson Adams moved to Leeds following the death of his wife.

The Orson B. Adams House is the most intact structure remaining of this small pioneering community as it was the last inhabited. In 2006, the BLM St George Field Office completed a rehabilitation of the structure.

This beautiful sandstone block house, and other stone remnants, have a red cliff backdrop making it one of the most attractive ghost towns around! 

There are on-site interpretive signs that help tell the community’s story, or CLICK HERE for more information.

-Iris Picat, retired Tumblr blogger

It’s National GO Day people!  So grab family and friends - and #GetOudoors!

Need a little inspiration? Check out this amazing photo from the Lower Calf Creek Falls in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by Chad Douglas, BLM Utah State Office.

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Check Out What Happened Last Week at the BLM: September 15-19, 2014

Announcements, Events and News

The BLM hosted several local National Public Lands Day events in anticipation of the nationwide NPLD 2014 celebration on Saturday, September 27, 2014. NPLD began in 1994 and is now the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. For the 20th Anniversary of NPLD last year, 175,000 volunteers and park visitors celebrated at 2,237 public land sites in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. Almost 2,000 projects are planned for this year’s observance. To find a NPLD event near you visit: http://www.publiclandsday.org/.

Social Media Highlights

The BLM last week celebrated the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument’s Golden Birthday. Encompassing 1.9 million acres, the Monument was created on September 18, 1996, by presidential proclamation – the first monument entrusted to BLM management. World-class dinosaur excavations have yielded more information about ecosystem change at the end of the dinosaur era than almost any other place in the world. Among the fossil finds, paleontologists have identified dinosaurs not previously known to have inhabited this region, as well as several new species. View photos and more information on My Public Lands Tumblr.

The BLM continued its month-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act with beautiful photos of and personal accounts about the significance of wilderness.  View some of the stunning wilderness landscapes managed by the BLM’s National Conservation Lands on the My Public Lands Instagram.

Internal Featured Stories

In 2009, a remarkable new dinosaur tracksite was discovered in the BLM’s Moab Field Office, containing one of the largest multi-animal tracksites in North America. The Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracksite preserves 10 different types of tracks, including various dinosaurs, birds and crocodiles, with over 200 tracks documented in an area of approximately 500 meters. The site is being studied by an international team led by Dr. Martin Lockley of the University of Colorado at Denver. The tracks, approximately 112 million years old, are preserved in the Lower Cretaceous Ruby Ranch Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation. Read the My Public Lands Tumblr story, originally published internally, about BLM Utah’s work with partners to clean up the area, document the tracksites with 3D photography, and build a walking trail for public education.

Follow www.blm.gov/socialmedia

‘Inside Wilson Arch' 

Wilson Arch, located on BLM administered land near Moab, Utah, was named after Joe Wilson, a local pioneer who had a cabin nearby in Dry Valley. 

The formation is known as entrada sandstone. Over time the superficial cracks, joints, and folds of these layers were saturated with water. Ice formed in the fissures, melted under extreme desert heat, and winds cleaned out the loose particles. A series of free standing fins remained. Wind and water attacked the fins until, in some, the cementing material gave way and chunks of rock tumbled out.

Photo: Chad Douglas, BLM-Utah Public Affairs

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Take a few days for yourself in southern Utah!

A trip through Labyrinth Canyon on the lower Green River can be enjoyed almost any time of the year, except in winter when there may be ice on the river. Managed jointly by the BLM and State of Utah, it is an easy, flat-water stretch suitable for canoes, kayaks, and rafts of all types. The stretch offers calm water (no rapids) in beautiful wilderness canyons and is ideal for multi-day trips. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to explore the many sites along the way. Enjoy your public lands!

Photo by Chad Douglas, BLM