This year’s Bat Blitz in Nevada

Over 12 species were identified during this year’s Bat Blitz. Each year the Nevada Department of Wildlife, the National Park Service, Nevada Natural Heritage Program, the U.S. Forest Service and the Great Basin Institute team up to trap bats. The goal is to learn more about the health and diversity of the bat species in the state. Kelsey Retich is a Wildlife Biologist in the Southern Nevada District in Las Vegas. Here, she provides her personal experience of the event.

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Vico, BLM Nevada’s only K-9, retires

“Vico has always had dedication and persistence in his duties. He is probably the happiest BLM employee with just some dog food and a piece of hose,” said Dave Stolts, BLM Southern Nevada Supervisory Ranger. Stolts has been Vico’s handler since 2011 when Vico was brought into the BLM’s K-9 program. 

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Visiting the New Gold Butte National Monument

The new Gold Butte National Monument covers nearly 300,000 acres of remote and rugged desert landscape in southeastern Nevada. The area is less than two hours from the Las Vegas Strip, but a world apart. Here dramatically chiseled red Navajo sandstone, twisting canyons, and tree-clad mountains of the adjoining Paiute Wilderness punctuate vast stretches of the Mojave Desert dotted with Joshua trees and desert shrubs.

The 99 mile long Gold Butte National Backcountry Byway provides access to a cross section of the area’s features and begins just south of Interstate 15 near Bunkerville, NV. The first 20 miles of the byway to Whitney Pockets are mostly paved and accessible by passenger vehicles. Other unpaved portions of the route can be accessed by high clearance vehicles and some may require 4-WD. Check visitor kiosks for area information.

The brightly hued sandstone provides a stunning canvas for the area’s famously beautiful rock art, and the desert provides critical habitat for the desert tortoise. The byway and other routes provide access outdoor recreation, and visitors to the monument can camp (undeveloped), hike to fantastic rock formations and hidden rock art sites, and visit the area’s namesake mining ghost town. Wildlife viewing and hunting opportunities are available and the area even has a population of majestic desert bighorn sheep. A full array of visitor services are available in Mesquite Nevada just north of the new monument. Stock up on supplies as no services are available on the byway or elsewhere in the monument.



Today, we share a few of our favorite shots from BLM Nevada’s annual photo contest. See more amazing outdoor photography on BLM Nevada’s Flickr.


On this day in 2002, Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area and 13 wilderness areas in Nevada were established through the Clark County Conservation of Public Land and Natural Resources Act of 2002.

A part of the BLM’s National conservation Lands, Sloan Canyon NCA offers solitude with unique scenic and geologic features and extraordinary cultural resources. The centerpiece of the area is the Sloan Canyon Petroglyph Site, one of the most significant cultural resources in Southern Nevada. Archaeologists believe the more than 300 rock art panels with 1,700 individual design elements were created by native cultures from the Archaic to historic era.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM


#mypubliclandsroadtrip Recap Continues with BLM Nevada!

From striking desert landscapes to historic trails to vast wilderness, the summer roadtrip in Nevada had something for everyone.  One of the most striking roadtrip stops - the Basin and Range National Monument.

Check out new photos of Basin and Range by Bob Wick, BLM.  The monument includes approximately 704,000 acres of public land in of one the most undisturbed corners of the broader Great Basin region. Less than two hours from Las Vegas, this unbroken expanse attracts recreationists seeking vastness and solitude.

Check out all BLM Nevada roadtrip photos on My Public Lands Flickr, and view the storymap roadtrip journal!


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

Aurum Ghost Town, Nevada

In the top photo, an ore track coming out of the historic Silver Canyon Mine in the Schell Creek Mountain Range in Nevada, east of the BLM’s Ely District. At one time the track ended at a wooden chute that sent the extracted ore from the mine down into a lower elevation where it was milled.

Further down in the valley bottom is the ghost town of Aurum, originally known as Silver Canyon, which sprang up in 1878. By 1881, Aurum had become a fair sized town with a store, a saloon, a blacksmith shop, two boarding houses, a small school, and its own post office. 

On February 11, 1884, a snow slide buried one of the boarding houses and other buildings in the camp killing several men. The men killed in the snow slide rest in Aurum Cemetry, captured in the second photo. 

But Aurum experienced a revival in 1887, and by 1888, the town once again had up to 50 residents. The revival peaked in 1898 but by 1906 the camp was all but abandoned. The last resident left in the mid 1920’s and Aurum officially joined the White Pine County Ghost Town roll.

Photos by Larry Martin, BLM Nevada


Today, #mypubliclandsroadtrip travels to several stunning Nevada landscapes that showcase the diversity of lands managed by the BLM.  

First up – Pine Forest Range Wilderness Area.

Known for its amazing desert habitat and wildlife, Nevada is also home to the Pine Forest Range.   A recent addition to the BLM’s wilderness areas, the range offers a diverse landscape of dense aspen stands, beautiful rock formations of enormous granite boulders and outcroppings, and an abundance of clean mountain streams and lakes.   Blue Lake, accessible only by hiking, is a remnant glacial lake.  Stands of rare remnant white bark and limber pines are present in this northern area of Nevada.  

The most amazing part? The fishing opportunities.  The pristine waters and untouched landscapes make it premiere fishing for brook, tiger, bowcutt, and rainbow trout. And visitors will find endless opportunities for rugged hiking and horseback riding - with very few trails - and primitive camping.

One visitor said that this gem “is like another planet.”


Just 12 miles west of Las Vegas, the colorful, bare sandstone of the aptly named Rainbow Mountain Wilderness emerges from the valley floor, standing guard over the surrounding pinyon-juniper forest and Mojave Desert scrub below. Its sheer, towering red and white cliffs are cut by rugged, narrow, twisting canyons lined with willow, ash, and hackberry trees. 

Encompassing 24,997 acres, this desert wonderland dominates the western view of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and is managed jointly by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. 

With springs, sandstone ‘pothole’ water tanks, and an elevation range of 3,000 feet, topping out at the 7,070-foot summit of Mount Wilson, the wilderness supports a wide variety of wildlife and unique plant communities. Deep, cool canyons host chain ferns as much as six feet tall and ponderosa pines, which usually thrive at higher elevations like the rocky outcrops further up the mountainsides. 

Desert bighorn sheep, mountain lion, bobcats, mule deer, coyote, foxes, bats, squirrels, and numerous bird species also make their home in the Rainbow Mountain Wilderness.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM


On this day, in 2004 President George W. Bush signed the Lincoln County Conservation, Recreation and Development Act into law. The Act added 14 BLM-managed wilderness areas to the National Wilderness System, including the Mount Irish Wilderness Area, featured above.

The Mount Irish range is also part of the Basin and Range National Monument, which was designated earlier this year.

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. 


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.


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.

Eurybia conspicua – Western showy aster flowers between July and early September. BLM photo taken in Crooked Creek near the Pryor Mountains.


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.

Arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) flowers begin blooming in late spring.

Larkspurs (Delphinium spp.) have bright blue and purple flowers blooming from May through July. If eaten in large quantities, they can be poisonous.


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.

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.


Shooting star flowers are both beautiful and interesting to observe. The four or five petals are bright pinkish-purple or sometimes white, about ¾ 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. 

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!


The Pine Forest Range, in northern Nevada’s Great Basin, is a rare and exceptional area of abundant streams and clear, cold subalpine lakes. Nestled in a cirque and fed by snowmelt and springs, these lakes are not only visually stunning but also possess an excellent trout fishery. The lakes are surrounded by a rare population of white bark and limber pines; stands of aspen and mountain mahogany are also found throughout the area. Fall brings out colors found in few other places in northern Nevada.  

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM.


Ending the day with new photos of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and wilderness within the stunning desert landscape – by Bob Wick, BLM.  The grey limestone of the La Madre Peaks Wilderness contrasts beautifully with the red sandstone in Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, most often associated with the conservation area.  

About the area, Bob says: “Its amazing to be in a wilderness setting looking at the Las Vegas Strip just 10 miles away as the crow flies (see Las Vegas Night).”  


#mypubliclandsroadtrip stops at Pine Forest Range Wilderness in Northern Nevada for solitude and stargazing.  

The area is an island in the sky rising almost 6,000 feet above the desert floor to peaks that top out at just below 10,000 feet.  The range has been glaciated, and has several cirque lakes which are very uncommon in the Great Basin.  The 4WD access route travels through huge patches of aspen interspersed with meadows. Whitebark and Limber Pine cover the peaks giving the area its name. This part of Nevada is as dark as anywhere in the continental U.S. so the Milky Way is very visible.

Photos by Bob Wick and Rita Ayers, BLM


#mypubliclandsroadtrip explores the Black Rock Desert of Nevada this weekend!

The Black Rock-High Rock region of Northwestern Nevada includes the longest intact segments of the historic emigrant trails to California and Oregon in the western U.S. – including wagon ruts, historic inscriptions and a wilderness landscape largely unchanged since the days of the pioneers.

The Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area Act of 2000 protected about 120 miles of the emigrant trails, from Rye Patch Reservoir north through the vast Black Rock Desert and then the narrow gorge of High Rock Canyon.  The Act established the 800,000 acre national conservation area and the wilderness within the NCA.

Also within the NCA, the Black Rock Desert Playa covers the large dry lakebed of ancient Lake Lahontan.  The playa has grown in popularity during the past decade as a place for recreation events that need a lot of room.  The world land speed record was set here in 1997.  Amateur rocketry clubs use the playa to set world altitude records. And the playa is the location of the annual Burning Man Festival, the largest Leave No Trace event in the country.

Photos and Burning Man timelapse by Bob Wick, BLM

For endless solitude and stargazing, plan a visit to Whitney Pocket in Nevada. Whitney Pocket is located at the intersection of the Gold Butte Backcountry Byway and Whitney Pass Road. It contains a cluster of sandstone outcrops with cultural resource sites, including prehistoric habitation and rock art. Makes for amazing day and nighttime views.

Photo by David Walker, BLM Nevada photo contest