national conservation area

POLITICS: It’s 100 days to the 2015 General Election and as the campaigning gets into gear, Britain is poised to hear what parties from all sides of the political spectrum have to say on a key policy area: Creme Eggs.

Pointless Letters has been able to use key inside contacts to get a sense of what manifesto commitments will be made in the run-up to May:

CONSERVATIVES: “We pledge to index-link the price of Creme Eggs to Faberge Eggs, and will make it illegal for anyone on benefits to even look at one.”

LABOUR: “We promise we will never ever go to war to secure another country’s Creme Egg stockpiles or natural fondant reserves. Honest.”

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS: “Please don’t throw them at us.”

UKIP: “You do all know they’re brown, right? Is no-one else worried about this?”

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On this day, President Bush signed the Arizona Desert Wilderness Act of 1990 into law, which established 38 new wilderness areas and expanded the Aravaipa Canyon wilderness.  The bill also established the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area featured here.

The 23,000-acre Gila Box Riparian NCA is truly an oasis in the desert. It has four perennial waterways - the Gila and San Francisco rivers and Bonita and Eagle creeks, which are the lifeline for this remarkable place. The Gila River canyon section, known as the Gila Box, is composed of patchy mesquite woodlands, mature cottonwoods, sandy beaches, and buff-colored cliffs. Bonita Creek, popular for birdwatching, hiking, and picnicking, is lined with large cottonwoods, sycamores, and willows. The perennial creek and riparian vegetation make this a cool year-round desert oasis.

Cliff dwellings, historic homesteads, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and over 200 species of birds make this year-round watery desert refuge worth the short drive from Safford, Arizona.

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM 

Red Rock Canyon was designated as Nevada’s first National Conservation Area.  Red Rock Canyon is located 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip on Charleston Boulevard/State Route 159.  The area is 195,819 acres and is visited by more than one million people each year.  In marked contrast to a town geared to entertainment and gaming, Red Rock Canyon offers enticements of a different nature including a 13-mile scenic drive, more than 30 miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, road biking, picnic areas, nature observing and visitor center with exhibit rooms and a book store.

The unique geologic features, plants and animals of Red Rock Canyon NCA represent some of the best examples of the Mojave Desert. In 1990, special legislation supported by the Nevada congressional delegation, changed the status of the Red Rock Recreation Lands to a National Conservation Area (NCA), the seventh to be designated nationally. This legislation provides the funding to protect and improve the area. Red Rock Canyon NCA  is enjoyed by the local population as well as visitors from the United States and many foreign countries. One million visitors each year enjoy the spectacular desert landscape, climbing and hiking opportunities, and interpretive programs sponsored by the BLM.

Photo: Van Phetsomphou

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On this day in 1999, BLM Colorado’s Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area and Gunnison Gorge Wilderness Area were designated.

Just north of Montrose in west-central Colorado lies the Gunnison Gorge NCA, a diverse landscape ranging from adobe badlands to rugged piñon and juniper-covered slopes. At the heart of the NCA, the Gunnison Gorge Wilderness Area encompasses a spectacular black granite and red sandstone double canyon formed by the Gunnison River.

For more information visit: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/nca/ggnca.html

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

Red Rock Canyon was designated as Nevada’s first National Conservation Area. Red Rock Canyon is located 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip on Charleston Boulevard/State Route 159.  The area is 195,819 acres and is visited by more than one million people each year.  In marked contrast to a town geared to entertainment and gaming, Red Rock Canyon offers enticements of a different nature including a 13-mile scenic drive, more than 30 miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, road biking, picnic areas, nature observing and visitor center with exhibit rooms and a book store.

Photo: Jacob Klein

The “right to forage” and the responsibility to “respect nature”–John McReynolds’s watchwords–are at the heart of the debate about when, where, and whether people should forage for food. Rules vary from county to county and park to park, but foraging is barred or strictly limited on most public lands in the Bay Area. In Sonoma County, where I live, foraging for mushrooms is illegal in state, regional, and town parks with the exception of Salt Point State Park. And California penal code punishes unapproved removal of plants from public and private land with a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. But few foragers are caught, and fewer penalized, even though there’s plenty of illegal foraging going on. As one veteran forager told me, “It’s impossible to police the wilderness.”

So it’s no wonder that Breck Parkman, who has worked for the state parks system and foraged for much of his life, says it’s time to enforce the rules. “I’ve seen foragers strip seaweed from rocks, engage in unlimited poaching, and gather without restraint to make a few quick bucks,” Parkman says. “Foragers trample the ground, erode the soil, and remove foods essential for the survival of native animals.”

Burly, bearded, and soft-spoken, master mushroom hunter Mike Twyford asserts that if current practices continue, bountiful foraging will become a thing of the past.
— 

Jonah Raskin

The Forager’s Dilemma

What’s Right, and Wrong, with Gathering Wild Foods?
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It’s National Bird Day!  

And what better to share on National Bird Day than one of our favorite bird-friendly places - Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area in Idaho?

A part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands, the Snake River Birds of Prey hosts some of the largest concentrations of raptors in the U.S. The area’s 485,000 acres host some 800 pairs of hawks, owls, eagles and falcons that come each spring to mate and raise their young. As a complete, stable ecosystem, the NCA is a valuable place for research and education.

Check out BLM Idaho’s website for great information about the area and educational materials for learners of all ages:http://on.doi.gov/1hWoXCg

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BLM Winter Bucket List #21: Visit King Range National Conservation Area, California, for Solitude in “A World Apart”

No #nationalconservation15 social media day would be complete without a National Conservation Lands location for your bucket list.  We recommend the BLM’s first National Conservation Area - King Range.

Perched along California’s far northern coast is an area of Douglas-fir clad peaks and rushing streams bypassed by civilization. The focal point of this “Lost Coast” is the 68,000-acre BLM managed King Range National Conservation Area.  Visitors must keep their schedules flexible in the winter - the weather can range from sunny 60-degree days to heavy rains and pounding surf.  Those who come prepared for the weather can enjoy solitude in a spectacular setting of 4,000 foot peaks jutting straight from the sea. 

The rocky coast in the small community of Shelter Cove offers great spots to view storm waves (keep back a safe distance from the ocean). More than 100 miles of trails offer many options for day hiking opportunities. Backpacking, a very popular pastime here the rest of the year, is also possible in winter, but storms can make trails impassible from high water crossings, so pay attention to the weather.  Expert surfers strap boards to their packs and hike miles into the coastal wilderness to access one of the best point breaks on the west coast. The King Range is five hours north of San Francisco and a world apart.  

CLICK HERE to learn more about the area and plan your visit.

Photos and description by Bob Wick, BLM