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Nice Photos from Alaska as National Blueberry Month Ends

All blueberries are not the same! There are 4 different types of blueberries in ‪#‎Alaska‬, Alaska blueberry (V. alaskaense), oval-leaved blueberry (V. ovali¬folium), red huckleberry (V. parvifolium) and bog blueberry (V. uliginosum).  Reference: University of Alaska Fairbanks   Luckily they’re all edible and great tasting! 

Photos: Blueberries from around the state by BLM, FWS, NPS

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Kicking off the week with beautiful shots of the BLM-managed White Mountains National Recreation Area in Alaska - by Bob WIck, BLM Wilderness Specialist.

The one-million-acre White Mountains National Recreation Area near Fairbanks, Alaska, offers stunning scenery, solitude, and outstanding opportunities for year-round recreation. 

Summer visitors to the White Mountains pan for gold, fish, hike and camp under Alaska’s ‘midnight sun.’ The Nome Creek Road provides access to two campgrounds, trails, and a departure point for float trips on Beaver Creek National Wild River. In winter, visitors travel by ski, snowshoe, dog team and snowmobile to enjoy the 12 public-use cabins and 250 miles of groomed trails that make the White Mountains one of Interior Alaska’s premier winter destinations.

CLICK HERE to learn more. 

Bob Wick, Wilderness Specialist for the BLM’s National Conservation Lands, sent us this photo from the Forty Mile Wild and Scenic River, BLM Alaska.  His message - The moose calves were not photoshopped - their legs really are that lanky!

See the Forty Mile and amazing wildlife for yourself - CLICK HERE to plan your visit.  #GetOutdoors #backyard2backcountry

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On this day in history, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Alaska Statehood Act into law in 1958.  The act became effective on January 3, 1959.  As part of the Act, Alaska was granted more than 100 million acres of public land.

Featured here, the beautiful lands along the Dalton Highway in Alaska.

Photos by Bob Wick, Wilderness Specialist for the BLM’s National Conservation Lands

The Denali Highway in Alaska was the main route to Denali National Park until it was bypassed by a faster more direct route - a perfect example of why it’s sometimes better to enjoy a slower trek on the back roads instead of rushing to a destination.  The route hugs the south side of the Alaska Range for 135 miles, 110 miles of which are gravel - any road not requiring 4x4 is called a highway here!  Adventurous travelers come from all over the world to experience its breathtaking scenery. The BLM maintains waysides and campgrounds along the highway, and visitors can also stay at several lodges. #getoutdoors #backyard2backcountry

I took “Denali Sunset” at about 1 AM as the sunset glow ignited high cirrus clouds rolling in with the approach of the next storm.  The thin clouds lit up like fire and reflected the same surreal flaming glow on the lakes below.

By Bob Wick, Wilderness Specialist for the BLM’s National Conservation Lands

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The countdown is over - today is the Great American Backyard Campout! Across the nation, from #backyard2backcountry, we’ll be sleeping under the stars.    #GetOutdoors 

Check out BLMer Bob Wick’s morning view after a recent campout along the Gulkana Wild and Scenic River in Alaska.  

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The first official summer weekend brings us to the Delta Wild and Scenic River in Alaska.  

The rolling tundra dotted with lakes and bisected by the Delta River rises to a backdrop of the majestic peaks of the Alaska Range. The upper Delta flows between several lakes, including Tangle Lake.  

The Delta Wild and Scenic River Watershed includes 150,000 acres of land, 160 miles of streams and 21 lakes, providing excellent habitat for over 100 species of migrating birds and waterfowl as well as grayling, whitefish, lake trout, burbot, and longnose suckers.  Much of the watershed is surrounded by arctic tundra with grasses and sedges making it a popular place for berry picking and for migrating caribou.  

The southern stretches of the Delta Wild and Scenic River Corridor are located within the Tangle Lakes Archaeological District and contain hundreds of archaeological sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  

Plan your own adventure to the Wild and Scenic Delta.  #GetOutdoors #backyard2backcountry

Photos by Bob Wick, Wilderness Specialist for the BLM’s National Conservation Lands

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A Cariboon for Caribou

There are a great many things that set Alaska apart from the lower 48.

Chief among them are the unique challenges the environment offers, the diversity of animals that inhabit it, and the sheer size of America’s largest state. These diverse lands include majestic mountain ranges, vibrant wetlands, unique coastal marine environments and vast expanses of tundra. The BLM manages 72 million acres of public lands in the state, including the largest contiguous block of federal land in the United States - the 23 million acre National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.

All of these factors come into play as the BLM in Alaska manages habitat for 16 herds of barren-ground caribou.

CLICK HERE to read A Cariboon for Caribou - a feature article by Erin Curtis in the BLM’s My Public Lands Magazine, Summer 2014

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It’s Friday - time to make your weekend plans!

Tomorrow is the Great American Backyard Campout.  So grab your smores and sleeping bags, and head out to your favorite spot under the stars - from #backyard2backcountry.  #GetOutdoors #GreatOutdoorsMonth

Photos from Alaska’s Denali Highway by Bob Wick, Wilderness Specialist for the BLM’s National Conservation Lands

2 AM Near the 40 Mile

This is my first photo of the midnight sun from Taylor Peak above the 40 Mile Wild and Scenic River near Chicken, Alaska. The 40 Mile is actually 390 miles long and is the longest federally managed wild and scenic river. I’m still south of the Arctic Circle so the sun sets from about 12:30 AM till about 3 AM, but it stays like dusk outside. Colin, the BLM employee in the photo, is from Fairbanks; he says that they don’t even try July 4th fireworks there - it’s too bright to see them.

Bob Wick, Wilderness Specialist, BLM National Conservation Lands

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Happy Wilderness Wednesday from BLM Alaska’s Central Arctic Management Area! 

The Central Arctic Management Area - a BLM Wilderness Study Area - sits between NPRA and Gates of the Arctic National Park.  This little known 320,000 acre area is starkly beautiful and made up of rolling tundra and snow covered peaks. The photos include a a sow grizzly and cub in the tundra, which are said to be smaller than others in Alaska.

Photos by Bob Wick, Wilderness Specialist for the BLM’s National Conservation Lands

The Last Homesteaders in Alaska and the Nation

When it was purchased in 1867 from Russia, the area known as the Department of Alaska had little federal management, and homestead legislation did not apply there.  As the population grew, the area became known as the District of Alaska, and the need for ways to privatize land increased.  Congress passed special legislation allowing the first homesteads in 1898.  For the next 88 years, until 1986, homesteading was possible in Alaska under terms of several homestead laws or amendments, with some applying only to Alaska.

The final homestead in Alaska—and the nation—was patented on May 5, 1988.  It went to Kenneth W. Deardorff (pictured above), a Vietnam veteran who had personally fulfilled the requirements of the 1862 Homestead Act.  Today, history books report him as America’s “Last Homesteader.”

-Robert E. King, Archaeologist for BLM-Alaska since 1986.  When he moved to Alaska in 1981, some of the last homesteading was still occurring, which, along with his own family’s homestead roots, sparked his enduring interest in the subject.

Read more at: http://on.doi.gov/1mrt8vH

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As she was leaving work on April 18, Park Ranger Lisa Jodwalis found this large (3 cm) diving beetle in front of the BLM Fairbanks District Office. Always attracted to strange, shiny objects, she took it to the University of Alaska Museum of the North for identification. Derek Sikes, Curator of Insects and Associate Professor of Entomology, identified it as Dytiscus fasciventris and wrote “As best I can tell that beetle is a new record for Alaska! It’s known from Yukon and BC all the way to New Hampshire but your specimen is the first for Alaska.”

Dytiscids are predatory beetles that you can often find in lakes and ponds. Strong swimmers, they feed on other invertebrates and even tadpoles and small fish. This specimen is a male, which has suction pads on its forelegs with which it can clasp the female during mating. The females have ribbed wing cases (elytra).

Photos: Lisa Jodwalis, BLM

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Today, we kick off National Bike Month with the story of one BLM employee who celebrates bike month all year round!

The Alaskan Winter sets in, and for many Alaskans, the bicycles are put away until Spring.  But for some hearty souls, like BLM Alaska’s Associate State Director, bicycle season is just transitioning into something different.  

Departing from home at 5:30 a.m., which at the height of winter is a full 4 hours before the sun comes up, he’s on the road.

Throughout the winter, he rides his fat-tire bike, complete with studded tires, almost daily using the bike trail along the Glenn Highway; he commutes 15 miles from Eagle River to downtown Anchorage. Temperatures frequently dip below zero, and fresh snow on ungroomed trails slows his speed.  Even the occasional meandering moose provides an interesting obstacle.  The average time to complete the trek becomes a little longer as winter progresses.  

But the clean air, beautiful vistas, and health advantages make it all worthwhile. 

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Check Out What Happened Last Week at the BLM, June 16-20, 2014

Announcements, Events, and News

The BLM last week extended its deadline to nominate operators or organizations in the non-coal solid minerals industries for the 2014 Reclamation and Sustainable Mineral Development Awards to July 22, 2014. These non-monetary awards highlight some of the finest examples of responsible mineral resource development and illustrate the principles of sustainable development without compromising the needs of future generations.  The awards program also helps to promote successful ideas and practices that may be implemented at various locations throughout the nation. Read the press release for more about the awards and nomination process

The BLM published The BLM’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2015 Budget brochure, which outlines the organization’s budget proposal and four priorities for FY 2015.  Download the budget brochure

On June 18, 2014, the BLM issued its first Rapid Ecoregional Assessment, or REA, in Alaska, summarizing the conditions of the Seward Peninsula ecoregions. REAs gather and synthesize existing data for all the lands in an ecoregion and identify important habitats for fish, wildlife, and species of concern. REAs also help identify areas that are not ecologically intact or readily restorable; and where development activities, such as transmission lines, may be directed to minimize potential impacts.  REAs then gauge the potential of these habitats to be affected by four overarching environmental change agents:  climate change, wildfires, invasive species, and development. Read the press release.

Highlights on Social Media

The BLM last week shared beautiful photos of Alaskan lands and wildlife by BLM Wilderness Specialist Bob Wick on its national social media accounts.  The photos were shared widely and reused by the DOI on its social media accounts as well.   View the posts on the My Public Lands Tumblr: moose calves from the Forty Mile Wild and Scenic River; midnight sun near the Forty Mile; and photos of the Delta Wild and Scenic River.  View them all on the My Public Lands Instagram.

On June 19, 2014, the BLM recognized the date that former BLM Director Tom Fry published an information memorandum that established the National Conservation Lands within the organization. Read the My Public Lands Tumblr post.

The BLM celebrated National Pollinators Week by posting pollinator photos from BLM-managed lands on its social media accounts.  The BLM rounded out the week with pollinator photos from BLM Oregon and information about Presidential Memorandum: Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, signed on June 20, 2014.  View the post on the My Public Lands Tumblr.

Follow www.blm.gov/socialmedia

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BLM Wilderness Specialist Bob Wick shot these photos from BLM’s Inigok Field Facility, 400 miles above the Arctic Circle. 

Notes about the birds from Bob, from top to bottom:

The yellow billed loon winters in the Yellow Sea region and nests here. It is very rare and is being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

This eastern yellow wagtail winters in temperate Asia and Australia and nests in Alaska and Siberia.

A resident ptarmigan molting from its winter white to brown summer feathers.  

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Yesterday, My Public Lands Tumblr headed to the White House for President Obama’s Tumblr Q&A on education.

About the process of choosing a career, the President said:

High school should be a time in which young people have greater exposure to actual careers as opposed to just classroom study.

All My Public Lands Tumblr followers know that our primary blogs are prepared by BLM interns and young employees.  These bloggers share experiences and careers in public land management and conservation from their perspectives.  We also post youth success stories  made possible through partnership with local communities and national organizations like Americorps and Student Conservation Association.

The BLM is proud to support the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) launched by the Obama Administration as part of the America’s Great Outdoors program and implemented by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. We appreciate the Tumblr community’s interest in stories about our internship and employment programs that put America’s youth and veterans to work protecting, restoring, and enhancing America’s natural and cultural resources. 

In the youth photo featured here, #AmeriCorpsNCCC is working with the BLM Glennallen Field Office in Alaska to keep public lands beautiful by removing trash, clearing brush, and doing trail maintenance along the Denali Highway. Read more about their journey.  

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!

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