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Happy Anniversary Antiquities Act!

On June 8, 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law, which authorized all future presidents to protect historic landmarks or objects of “scientific interest” on public lands as national monuments.

While most national monuments are established by the President, Congress also has established national monuments protecting natural or historic features. Since 1906, the President and Congress have created more than 100 national monuments. They are currently managed by multiple agencies, including the National Park Service, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management.

The photo collection here reflects the diversity and beauty of the BLM-managed national monuments, a part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands. Photos by Bob Wick, BLM Wilderness Specialist.

More love for America’s newest National Monument! Curated photos on the Flickr blog- simply breathtaking.

New U.S. National Monument in New Mexico | Flickr Blog

On May 21, 2014, a nearly 500,000-acre area in the southern part of New Mexico was designated by President Barack Obama as the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. Now protected by the Bureau of Land Management, it features picturesque mountain ranges, the Kilbourne Hole, historical sites…

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Located on the Colorado Plateau in northern Arizona, the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona includes the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. This remote and unspoiled, 280,000-acre Monument - a part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands - is a geologic treasure, containing a variety of diverse landscapes from the Paria Plateau, Vermilion Cliffs, Coyote Buttes, and Paria Canyon. 

Visitors enjoy scenic views of towering cliffs and deep canyons. Paria Canyon offers an outstanding three to five day wilderness backpacking experience. The colorful swirls of cross-bedded sandstone in Coyote Buttes are an international hiking destination.

A permit is required for hiking in Coyote Buttes North (the Wave), Coyote Buttes South, and for overnight trips within Paria Canyon. Visit the BLM Arizona’s website to learn more about this beautiful area and plan your visit.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM Wilderness Specialist

Beautiful shot of the Sonoran Desert National Monument in Arizona, which contains more than 487,000 acres of Sonoran Desert landscape. The Sonoran Desert is the most biologically diverse of the North American deserts and includes an the extensive saguaro cactus forest.

The dust from a recent storm front made for interesting backlighting of the rich Sonoran vegetation at the national monument.

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

Watch on mypubliclands.tumblr.com

My greatest experience with condors was during a Grand Canyon camping trip on the North Rim with friends. As we stood near the edge and looked down, we saw a pair of condors gradually rising on a thermal. As they rose to where we stood we could hear the force of their massive wings cut through the air with a powerful “Whoosh!”  It was absolutely exhilarating! It’s one unforgettable site to see. —Rachel Tueller, BLM Arizona Strip District Public Affairs Officer

In celebration of National Public Lands Day today, the BLM, The Peregrine Fund and partners released three California condors in the BLM-managed Vermillion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona.  Watch a short clip from a previous NPLD release event to see the condor fly.

Milky Way near Butterfield Pass in the BLM-managed Sonoran Desert National Monument

This area is probably only 30-40 air miles from Phoenix, and the glow from the city is visible to the north.  However, the overhead stars and southern horizon are dark enough to clearly see the Milky Way, which makes a great backdrop to the charismatic saguaros. 

-Bob Wick, BLM Wilderness Specialist

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Today’s Summer Bucket List includes a trip to the moon, Craters of the Moon National Monument that is.

Managed jointly by the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service, Craters of the Moon, is a geologic wonder in a uniquely preserved volcanic landscape whose central focus is the Great Rift, a 62-mile long crack in the Earth’s crust. Craters, cinder coves, lava tubes, deep cracks, and vast lava fields form a strangely beautiful volcanic sea on central Idaho’s Snake River Plain. At first glance the landscape of Craters of the Moon appears to be devoid of life. Look deeper and you will observe a rich diversity of life including more than 750 types of plants and almost 300 animal species (not including insects!).

Local legends made references to the landscape resembling the surface of the moon. Some even referred to the area as the “Valley of the Moon.” In fact, the second group of astronauts to walk on the moon visited Craters of the Moon in 1969 to study the volcanic geology and to explore an unusual and harsh environment in preparation for their trip to space.

The National Monument became known as Craters of the Moon when Robert Limbert used the name in an article for a national magazine. Limbert was the first man to thoroughly explore and promote the area. The name became official with the establishment of the monument in 1924.

Visit the following websites for information about Craters of the Moon:

http://www.nps.gov/crmo/index.htm
http://www.blm.gov/id/st/en/prog/blm_special_areas/craters_of_the_moon.html

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#GetOutdoors and enjoy your public lands today!

Located off the 1,100 miles of California coastline, the BLM-managed California Coastal National Monument comprises more than 20,000 small islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles between Mexico and Oregon. The monument provides feeding and nesting habitat for an estimated 200,000 breeding seabirds as well as forage and breeding habitat for marine mammals including the southern sea otters and California sea lions.

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

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Thanks to the many volunteers who spent time at National Public Lands Day events today, enjoying and improving the public lands we all love. And a special thanks to BLM staff, partners and volunteers who braved the weather for a successful NPLD condor release in Arizona.

We close the day with photos of White Pocket in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument by Bob Wick, where our condors fly tonight.

The towering escarpments of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument and nearby wilderness areas provide ideal habitat for the condors. Here they can safely nest among the ledges and soar. —Mitch Owens BLM Vermilion Cliffs National Monument Outdoor Recreation Planner

Stay tuned next week for more photos and stories from our day of “CondorsOnTheRise”.

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HAPPY EARTH DAY 2014!

In celebration of Earth Day 2014, the Bureau of Land Management is introducing three vintage posters and postcards depicting some of the spectacular landscapes of our National Conservation Lands. As a part of a continuing series, the purpose of the campaign is to highlight these ruggedly beautiful and culturally rich places that belong to all Americans. 

The inaugural posters and postcards artistically portray three different areas, illustrating the diversity of the landscapes protected under the system. They are Eagletail Mountains Wilderness Area in Arizona, Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana and Headwaters Forest Reserve in California.  

There are now nearly 900 designated areas of National Conservation Lands spanning almost 27 million acres – or 11 percent of the lands managed by BLM. They include national monuments, national conservation areas, wilderness and wilderness study areas, national wild and scenic rivers, national scenic trails and national historic trails. 

Learn more about your National Conservation Lands: http://on.doi.gov/19NBFQl

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Check out the recreation.gov feature article about Organ Mountains—Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico.

The 496,330 acre Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument was established on May 21, 2014, by Presidential Proclamation. The BLM-managed national monument includes four distinct areas: the Organ Mountains, Desert Peaks, Potrillo Mountains, and Doña Ana Mountains.

While all four areas offer unique recreational opportunities, the most developed portion of the monument is the Organ Mountains which is the location of the Visitor Center at Dripping Springs. The Organ Mountains are a steep, angular mountain range with rocky spires that jut majestically above the Chihuahuan Desert floor to an elevation of 9,000 feet. It is so named because the needle-like spires resemble the pipes of an organ. This picturesque area of rocky peaks, narrow canyons, and open woodlands ranges from Chihuahuan Desert habitat to ponderosa pine in the highest elevations. Located adjacent to and on the east side of Las Cruces, this part of the Monument provides many opportunities for photography, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, camping, and wildlife viewing. There are several recreation areas within the Monument including the Dripping Springs Natural Area, the Aguirre Spring Campground, four National Recreation Trails, and many miles of hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking trails.

CLICK HERE to plan your visit and #SeeBLM.

Photos by Lisa Phillips, BLM New Mexico

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Hard-Working Monument Turns 14 Years Young!

Hard to believe it was 14 years ago, but the Cascade Siskiyou became a National Monument on June 9, 2000.

The BLM-managed Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon was the first monument set aside solely for the preservation of biodiversity. Due to several complex biological and geological factors and processes operating simultaneously, the monument contains an unusually high variety of species in a geographically small area.

Located at the crossroads of the Cascade, Klamath, and Siskiyou mountain ranges, scientists have long recognized the outstanding ecological values of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The convergence of three geologically distinct mountain ranges resulted in an area with remarkable biological diversity and a tremendously varied landscape. Many archaeological and historical sites are also found throughout the Monument, providing clues to Native American use of the area and tracing portions of the historic Oregon/California Trail.  Some of the best ways to explore this unique landscape include visiting the Hyatt Lake Recreation Complex and hiking on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.

Check out this short movie about the Monument, and then head on over to our website for more information. #GetOutdoors

BLM Photos of Cascade Siskiyou National Monument

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Get to Know Your New National Monument:  The Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico

Every year, thousands of visitors hunt, hike, bike, boat, and fish within Río Grande del Norte.  The Río Grande Wild and Scenic River winds its way through the monument and the Río Grande Gorge contains outstanding whitewater rafting and kayaking opportunities, including the world-famous Upper Box and Taos Box segments of the Río Grande.

Learn more about the monument:  http://blm.gov/c2kd

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BLM Celebrates National Public Lands Day with Condor Release

Managing public lands for healthy ecosystems, including diverse plant communities and viable wildlife populations, is an important part of BLM’s work related to the Endangered Species Act. The California condor recovery program is an important part of BLM’s mission.  As a wildlife biologist, father and grandfather, I would like my children and grand children to always have this unique vulture species abundant and soaring in the skies over the Arizona Strip. -Tim Hughes, BLM Arizona State Office Threatened and Endangered Species Specialist

Tomorrow, Sept. 27, the BLM, The Peregrine Fund and partners will release three California condors in the BLM-managed Vermillion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona. The condors were hatched and raised as part of The Peregrine Fund’s captive breeding program at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho, and will be transported to Arizona for the release.

As of June 30, 2014, 72 of the world’s total 439 birds live in the wild throughout northern Arizona and southern Utah. Recovery efforts have successfully helped the species recover from the brink of extinction when numbers fell to just 22 condors worldwide in the 1980s.  Success is due to the efforts of contributing partners, including the BLM Arizona, The Peregrine Fund, Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Kaibab National Forest and Grand Canyon National Park.

The annual release coincides with National Public Lands Day and results in approximately 300 participants. Join the celebration on social media! You can follow the fun tomorrow using the hashtags #CondorsOnTheRise, #WelcomeCondors and #NPLD on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Flickr.

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BLM Dinosaur Exhibit at the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Annual Convention Reaches Youth

Three Bureau of Land Management paleontologists spent the recent President’s Day weekend at the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Annual Convention in Nashville, Tenn. They hosted a popular exhibit about dinosaurs in the Convention’s Family Adventure Village, visited by approximately 9,500 youth and adults.

This year’s large exhibit space was filled with a crime scene youth activity based on an actual excavation in the BLM-managed Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the skulls of five other new species of dinosaurs, also found in GSENM. Evidence about the dinosaur victim and perpetrator were detailed in a large map covering the floor along with posters and dinosaur bones. All of the dinosaur skulls on display were transported from GSENM in Utah to the convention hall. Species on display included: Utahceratops gettyi, Diabloceratops eatoni, Teratophoneus curriei, Lythronax argestes and Nasutoceratops titusi, the dinosaur named in honor of BLM Paleontologist Alan Titus for his years of research on dinosaurs at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. 

Another highlight of the exhibit was a poster showing the evolutionary path from dinosaur to turkey, which answered the question from curious visitors about why the BLM had a dinosaur exhibit at a turkey convention. The NWTF provided a stuffed turkey to display along with the dinosaur skulls. The exhibit was a success because of the dedication of the BLM Paleontologists Alan Titus, Scott Foss and Phil Gensler as well as the wonderful staff at NWTF, Christine Rolka and P.J. Perea. 

The BLM and NWTF have been partners in conservation and recreation efforts for years. The annual convention provides the BLM with a great opportunity to reach youth and school groups that attend in large numbers. 

Read more about the National Wild Turkey Federation at http://www.nwtf.org/, and learn more about the paleontological discoveries at GSENM at http://on.doi.gov/1fJIy7a

-Sally Butts, Wildlife Biologist for BLM-National

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Happy Anniversary!

Nearly one year ago, President Obama designated two new BLM-managed National Monuments: the Río Grande del Norte National Monument in northern New Mexico, and the San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington. BLM staff and partners have been busy over the past year.

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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.

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