BLMcolorado

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Make a trip down the Gunnison River, which flows through the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area, for some world-class trout fishing in gold-medal waters! Nearly all the Gunnison River within the NCA is designated gold medal trout water, which technically means it supports 60 pounds of trout and at least 12 trout larger than 14 inches per acre. In layman’s terms, this just means it’s one of Colorado’s best spots for fly fishing.

The river’s cold, clear water support a variety of trout. Brown trout are the most abundant, but rainbow trout are also becoming more plentiful in the area. You can access the NCA, about 50 miles south of Grand Junction, via several four-wheel-drive roads and then backpack, day-hike or float the river to get your fishing fix.

At the heart of the NCA is the Gunnison Gorge Wilderness Area, a backcountry area with remote beauty and some of the most pristine waters of the river. Special rules apply within the wilderness and on all gold medal trout fisheries to preserve the original nature of these special areas.  A great #mypubliclandsroadtrip!

My Public Lands Roadtrip: Wilderness along the Alpine Loop in Colorado by Bureau of Land Management
Via Flickr:
The Alpine Loop is one of America’s Back-Country Byways, providing off-the-beaten-path trips. Different routes allow you to take short trips, half-day trips, or even multi-day trips with time to camp, fish and explore along the way. A part of the National Conservation Lands, BLM Colorado wilderness areas along the loop - such Handies Peak, Red Cloud Peak, Uncompahgre and Powderhorn pictured here - offer solitude and rugged, stunning views. Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

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Enjoy a break from the cold with wildflowers from the American Basin ACEC in Colorado.

The BLM-administered American Basin ‪‎Area of Critical Environmental Concern‬ is managed to protect and enhance visual, botanic and other natural values - particularly wildflowers! It’s one of the most scenic areas in the San Juan Mountains, especially in midsummer when alpine wildflowers form a colorful carpet along the basin.

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Happy Monday - thinking of warmer days and spring flowers with views of the Handies Peak WSA!

The scenic Handies Peak Wilderness Study Area in Colorado is known for its mountains, multi-colored rock formations, diverse vegetation, and vast, open vistas. Handies Peak itself rises 14,048 feet over the area - the highest BLM point outside of Alaska. The WSA also hosts 12 other peaks that rise over 13,000 feet, three major canyons, glacial cirques, and three alpine lakes. 

This landscape makes Handies Peak WSA - a part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands - a perfect getaway for hiking, backpacking, camping, mountain climbing, and photography. CLICK HERE to learn more and plan a visit.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

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Happy Birthday, Colorado! On this day in 1876, Colorado became a state; we celebrate with a amazing photos from Handies Peak Wilderness Study Area - one of our favorites. 

The scenic quality of the Handies Peak Wilderness Study Area in Colorado is outstanding due to the interaction of mountainous landforms; multi-colored rock strata; diverse vegetation; and vast, open vistas. Handies Peak itself rises 14,048 feet over the area and is the highest point of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management outside of Alaska. This WSA also hosts 12 other peaks that rise over 13,000 feet, three major canyons, numerous small drainages, glacial cirques and three alpine lakes. The landscape a variety of volcanic, glacial and Precambrian formations. A rock glacier formation is also located at the head of American Basin.

This is an area perfect for hiking, backpacking, camping, mountain climbing and photography.  Guaranteed to inspire!

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

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The Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area in Colorado – a part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands – is nestled within the Uncompahgre Plateau, where Cottonwood, Escalante, Big Dominguez and Little Dominguez Creeks tumble through red-rock sandstone canyons to empty into the Gunnison River. This area includes Dominguez Canyon Wilderness, where water running year-round through Little Dominguez Creek provides habitat for birds, mammals, lizards and other species. Desert bighorn sheep can also be spotted grazing beside cliffs.

In addition to the excellent rock climbing Dominguez-Escalante NCA has to offer, the rugged canyons and bluffs here hold geological and paleontological resources spanning 600 million years. Rock art on the canyon walls and archaeological sites on the mesas are evidence of thousands of years of Native American hunting and travel. And the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, a 19th century Mexican trade route, passes through this region.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

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Vintage Poster Series: Celebrating the 15th Anniversary of America’s Youngest Conservation System!

Today, we celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the Bureau of Land Management’s National Conservation Lands with three new vintage posters in an ongoing series.

The mission of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands is to conserve, protect, and restore nationally-significant landscapes and places that have outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values – for the benefit of current and future generations. These lands include 900 areas (more than 30 million acres) of National Monuments, National Conservation Areas, Wilderness Areas, and other federally-designated special places.

Where can you find copies of the vintage posters? The vintage posters will be available at BLM state offices in both postcard and poster formats within the next few weeks. Requests for paper posters can also be sent to asmall@blm.gov.  Please include the word POSTER in the subject line and provide your name, mailing address, and the number and type of poster.  Requests are limited to five posters per recipient. You can view and download all vintage posters and postcards in the series to date on the My Public Lands Flickr site: http://bit.ly/1zMc1cN.  

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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

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BLM Lands Among Most Amazing Hidden Gems

Four beautiful BLM locations were highlighted in the Weather Channel’s recent feature - Most Amazing Hidden Gem in Every State:  

  • Browns Canyon National Monument in Colorado; 
  • Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness in New Mexico; 
  • Rio Grande National Monument in New Mexico (labeled Texas); and 
  • Black Sands Beach/Shelter Cove within the King Range National Conservation Area in California.

CLICK HERE to view the entire set. 

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

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Beautiful Photos of the Rio Grande Natural Area in Colorado by BLMer and Tumblr Blogger Kyle Sullivan

The Rio Grande Natural Area was established in 2006 to conserve the natural, historic and cultural, scientific, and recreational resources of the 33-mile stretch of the Rio Grande between the southern end of the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge and the Colorado-New Mexico state border.

The photos were taken on a windy day, evidenced by the ripples in the water and the dust cloud seen to the north in some of the photos. This time of year, strong wind creates sandstorms that pick up sand from the valley floor and deposit the sand in the Great Sand Dunes National Park on the eastern edge of the valley.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the area.

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The #mypubliclandsroadtrip continues with #traveltuesday along the Scenic Alpine Loop in Colorado

The Alpine Loop is one of America’s Back-Country Byways, providing off-the-beaten-path trips.  Different routes allow you to take short trips, half-day trips, or even multi-day trips with time to camp, fish and explore along the way.

A part of the National Conservation Lands, BLM Colorado wilderness areas along the loop - such Handies Peak, Red Cloud Peak, Uncompahgre and Powderhorn pictured here - offer solitude and rugged, stunning views.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM; click photos for locations

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At 11,000 feet and nestled within the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado, Animas Forks Ghost Town harkens back to the days of prospectors and gold mines.  Miners built the town’s first cabins in 1873 when they moved to the area in search of gold. At its height, Animas Forks had 450 residences and 30 cabins, a hotel, a saloon, a general store and a post office. It even had its own newspaper! But most of the gold mining in the area had ceased by 1910, and Animas Forks was a ghost town by 1920.

Today, more than 100,000 people take a step back in time each year by visiting the abandoned town, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can find Animas Forks along the Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway, 12 miles northeast of Silverton, Colo. The best way to explore the region is in the summer by Jeep, as many of the byway’s roads are unpaved and the area is generally snowy and muddy by late fall. Nine of the original buildings still stand and are open to entry, thanks to collaboration with San Juan County and various partner groups to stabilize and restore them.

View more stops along #mypubliclandsroadtrip with our @esri storymaps: http://mypubliclands.tumblr.com/roadtrip2016.

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#GOWILDforEveryKid at the Handies Peak Wilderness Study Area in Colorado!

The scenic Handies Peak Wilderness Study Area rises 14048 feet - the highest point of land managed by the BLM outside of Alaska. The area also hosts 12 other peaks that rise over 13,000 feet, three major canyons, numerous small drainages, glacial cirques and three alpine lakes.

Visitors can enjoy recreation activities such as hiking, backpacking, camping, mountain climbing and photography. A great learning opportunity, the wilderness study area shows a variety of volcanic, glacial and Precambrian formations. And a rock glacier formation is located at the head of American Basin!

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

During Wilderness Month 2015, our #GOWILDforEveryKid posts feature wilderness areas and wilderness study areas where kids can enjoy America’s Great Outdoors! 4th Graders and their families can enjoy those outdoors for free through www.everykidinapark.gov.    

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Happy 100th Birthday to Rocky Mountain National Park!

Kyle Sullivan, employee at the BLM Colorado’s Royal Gorge Field Office, snapped these great wildlife photos in Rocky Mountain National Park. Visitors can access BLM public lands from the park via Trail Ridge Road in the summer. 

Congratulations, neighbor.  100 looks great on you!

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BLM Colorado Uses “Critter Cams” for Wildlife Monitoring

Biologists at the Royal Gorge Field Office in Colorado utilize guzzlers and other water collection systems to manage grazing and increase water access to wildlife. Still cameras have been placed at guzzlers along the front range of the Rocky Mountains to monitor use and activity. 

Cameras provide a dimension of monitoring that give biologists an invaluable amount of information as to the frequency of use and by what species. Beyond the scientific data collected by the critter cameras, magnificent, candid photographs of coyotes, bobcats and other creatures are captured. 

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Looking for a spooky hike? Walk among the dead at Oil Well Flats in Colorado. The north and east sections were burned years ago in the Cooper Mountain Fire. The resulting landscape is otherworldly, with sandstone spires that tower above the charred remains of piñons and junipers.  It’s a spectacular landscape, especially at dusk. 

By Kyle Sullivan, BLM

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This week, the BLM’s My Public Lands Instagram reached 60,000 followers! We’re celebrating this milestone with #mypubliclandspicks. Check out our instagram all weekend to view favorite photos and places to visit, selected by employees.

Featured above:

  • Sunset over Burning Man 2014, Nevada, by Casey Bryant, BLM Vending Compliance Team
  • Browns Canyon National Monument, Colorado, by Bob Wick, BLM Wilderness Specialist
  • Middle Fork, Wyoming, by Charlotte Darling, BLM Wyoming Rangeland Management Specialist
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#HappyFriday from Browns Canyon National Monoument in Colorado

The 21,586-acre Browns Canyon National Monument features rugged granite cliffs, colorful rock outcroppings and stunning mountain views.  Managed jointly by the Forest Service and BLM’s National Conservation Lands, the monument provides world-class recreational opportunities that attract visitors from around the globe for hiking, whitewater rafting and fishing. #SeeBLM

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

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#TravelTuesday along Colorado’s Alpine Loop National Backcountry Byway with Guest Photographer Bob Wick!

Southwest Colorado’s Alpine Loop National Backcountry Byway provides access to some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere in the Rockies.  Here, jagged peaks up to 14,000 feet in elevation rise above rushing streams and wildflower filled meadows.  My favorite time to photograph here is in mid-late July when the wildflowers reach their peak.  Another amazing time is late September when the aspen turn the mountainsides golden.

Heading west from Lake City, make sure to stop at Cataract Gulch.  The trail here is a somewhat arduous but very rewarding climb along a forest clad stream plunging over rocks and falls.  Even a short hike up part of the trail offers great scenery and photo opportunities.

A few miles further West, the American Basin in Handies Peak Wilderness Study Area has a plethora of wildflowers including fields of Colorado’s state flower, the columbine.  You can scale 14,000 foot Handies Peak with a long non-technical but demanding day hike.  Stop by alpine Sloan Lake along the way with its turquoise waters and alpine flowers.  Photo tip: I try to photograph wildflowers in the morning before it gets windy.  I also get low; shooting from the same height, or even looking up from below taller flowers as it provides a fresh and interesting perspective.  Use a very small aperture (F-16) to keep both the flowers and distant landscape features in focus.

You’ll need four-wheel drive to reach the higher passes on the Alpine Loop which top-out above treeline at over 12,800 feet on Engineer Pass.  Just to the west of this pass is the ghost town of Animas Forks, at 11,200 feet.  The restored log cabins offer excellent photo subjects.  The surrounding communities of Lake City, Silverton and Ouray offer a variety of services including jeep rentals.  Photo tip: When photographing at high elevations around light colored rock or patches of snow, your camera’s light meter can be tricked into underexposing the image – set your camera to snow/beach mode or overexpose by one or two stops to get the correct exposure.

Check out our @esri Colorado Alpine Loop multimedia storymap-journal for more stunning photos, videos, helpful links and maps of the area: mypubliclands.tumblr.com/traveltuesdaycoloradoalpineloop.

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#GOWILDforEveryKid! Take an adventurous ride on a popular jeep road to the Umcompagre Wilderness in Colorado - a combination of alpine tundra meadows, rugged mountains, and densely-forested canyons within the north-central San Juan Mountains.

This wilderness boasts two “fourteeners” (on USFS-managed land) and more than 34 other peaks that tower over 13,000 feet in elevation. Several forks of the Cimarron River roll through the wilderness, and numerous alpine lakes and streams that are scattered throughout. Visitors can explore over 100 miles of trails perfect for hiking, backpacking, camping and more. CLICK HERE to learn more and plan a visit.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

During Wilderness Month 2015, our #GOWILDforEveryKid posts feature wilderness where kids can enjoy America’s Great Outdoors! 4th Graders can enjoy those outdoors for free through www.everykidinapark.gov.