California Coastal National Monument

Happy Birthday to California Coastal National Monument! Established in 2000, California Coastal National Monument includes public lands along the coast of California and in the near shore waters of the Pacific Ocean. Providing unique coastal habitat for marine-dependent wildlife and vegetation on more than 20,000 rocks, islands, exposed reefs and pinnacles, it also offers gorgeous natural beauty to all its visitors. Photo by Bob Wick, @mypubliclands


We’ve got your weekend inspiration! #DiscoverTheCoast with us in California

The California Coastal National Monument preserves important habitat for coastal plants and animals, and protects cultural sites that provide insight into the people who lived along the California coast thousands of years ago. Many of the new units of the monument are also culturally and spiritually important to local tribes.

Cotoni-Coast Dairies
in Santa Cruz County extends from the steep slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains to marine terraces overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This portion of the California Coastal National Monument encompasses ancient archaeological sites, riparian and wetland habitats, coastal prairie grasslands, and woodlands that include stands of coast redwood. Photo by Jim Pickering, BLM. 

A respite from the modern world, complete with historic architecture and abundant natural life, awaits visitors to the California coast at Piedras Blancas.

Only 40 miles north of San Luis Obispo, California, the large white coastal rocks for which Piedras Blancas was named have served as a landmark for centuries to explorers and traders along the central coast of California.

Built in 1875 as a safety aid to mariners, the light station once cast a flashing, oil-flame light 25 miles out to sea, warning ship captains to steer clear of the white rocks that would mean certain doom for a vessel.

Today, the light station, its first order lens and light structure long ago removed, casts a beacon to travelers on scenic California Highway 1. It continues to provide a navigational aid to ship traffic, as well. Photo by David Ledig, BLM.

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June #conservationlands15 Social Media Takeover: Top 15 Places to Stargaze on the #mypubliclandsroadtrip in BLM California

1. Amargosa Wild and Scenic River
2. Cadiz Dunes Wilderness
3. California Coastal National Monument
4. Carrizo Plain National Monument
5. Fort Ord National Monument
6. Kingston Range Wilderness
7. Little Black Sands Beach in King Range National Conservation Area
8. Lost Coast Trail at King Range National Conservation Area
9. North Maricopa Wilderness
10. Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area
11. Piper Mountains Wilderness
12. Point Arena-Stornetta in California Coastal National Monument
13. San Gorgonio Wilderness
14. Slinkard Wilderness
15. Whipple Mountains Wilderness

Thanks for following the June #conservationlands15 features on My Public Lands Tumblr, and our takeover of americasgreatoutdoors Instagram account ( Stay tuned all week as the #mypubliclandsroadtrip visits these top 15 California spots for stargazing and much more.  


Happy World Wildlife Day!

We celebrate wildlife today and every day on our nation’s public lands. More than 3,000 species of wildlife call BLM-managed lands home - that’s a backyard of more than 245 million acres in 23 states, dispersed over ecologically-diverse and essential habitat.

Enjoy a few of our favorite wildlife photos from your public lands!


The December #conservationlands15 Social Media Takeover Ends with the Top 15 Film Locations on National Conservation Lands.

1. Pacific Crest Trail, CA-OR. Wild (2014) chronicles Cheryl Strayed’s (Reese Witherspoon) 1,000 mile journey on the trail that challenges, strengthens and ultimately heals her. The 2,650 mile trail includes segments on BLM lands in California and Oregon.

2. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, OR. In The Ring (2002), the lighthouse takes on an eerie glow for scenes from this supernatural horror flick starring Naomi Watts.  

3. Paria Canyon Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, AZ. The deep canyons, tall cliffs and pinon covered uplands were backdrops for scenes from Billy the Kid (1941) and later the Outlaw Josie Wales with Clint Eastwood (1976).

4. Unaweep Canyon Wilderness Study Area, CO. Follow Thelma and Louise – the famous roadtrip duo– along a scenic byway backed by several Wilderness Study Areas (Sewemup Mesa and Palisade) with towering cliffs.

5. Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument, NM. Terminator Salvation (2009), Natural Born Killers (1994) and Wild Hogs (2007) are among the films that used the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge to film dramatic scenes above the canyon and churning river almost 600 feet below.

6. Fort Ord National Monument, CA. The Bugle Sounds (1942) stars Wallace Beery as a cavalry sergeant reluctant to replacing horses with modern equipment.

7. The San Juan Islands National Monument, WA. The film location for Free Willy II (1992) included the islands and surrounding rocks and islets of this national monument.

8. Rogue Wild and Scenic River, OR. Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon floated the river during the River Wild (1994), preceded by John Wayne and Katherine Hepburn who were filmed on the river in the 1975 film Rooster Cogburn.

9. Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, UT.  The Pariah townsite in the southern part of the monument included a movie set which was built in the early 1960s for Sergeants Three, a Western featuring Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. It also provided settings for the television series Death Valley Days and Gunsmoke. The last movie filmed there was The Outlaw Josie Wales in 1976.

10. California Coastal National Monument Point Arena, CA. This spectacular coastal landscape capped by California’s tallest lighthouse provided a dramatic setting for the ending scenes of Forever Young starring Mel Gibson (1992) and Need for Speed (2014).

11. Valley of the Gods and Road Canyon Wilderness Study Area, UT. This iconic red-rock landscape was the backdrop for Forrest Gump (1994) when Forrest, played by Tom Hanks, ended his cross-country run.

12. Red Rock National Conservation Area, NV.  Red Rocks featured Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger in Bells of San Angelo (1947) and was a location for The Stalking Moon with Gregory Peck in 1968.

13. Organ Mountains National Monument, NM. In Due Date (2009) with Robert Downey, Jr.,  the Organ Mountains were used extensively as a backdrop for the movie, once being cited in the film as mountains in Dallas, Texas, which is actually quite flat!

14. Saint Anthony’s Dunes Wilderness Study Area, ID.  Although Napoleon Dynamite (2004) was not actually filmed here, St. Anthony’s gets a prominent mention when Napoleon’s grandma breaks her coccyx riding a bike in the dunes and leaves him in the care of his uncle.  A proclamation by the Idaho State Legislature commending the movie’s portrayal of the state calls out Saint Anthony’s as a “long honored Idaho vacation destination”

15. Blackfoot River, Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, MT. Flowing just east of Missoula Montana, the Blackfoot was made famous by Norman Macleans novel “A River Runs Through It” and a movie of the same name starring Brad Pitt (1992). Filming was conducted on several other river segments, as fishing on the Blackfoot had declined since the Macleans fished there.  However, the movie sparked a restoration effort and the Blackfoot is once again a popular flyfishing destination.

Thanks for following the #conservationlands15 posts all year.  Check back on Dec. 20th for the 12 Days of National Conservation Lands, an end-of-year recap of our monthly Top 15 posts!


Celebrate #YourPublicLands!

The first issue of Your Public Lands, BLM’s E-Newsletter was sent out today! This monthly E-Newsletter will bring you the latest stories from across the Bureau of Land Management. Today, the BLM manages 10 percent of the land in the United States and a third of the nation’s minerals. BLM-managed public lands stretch across the nation, from the Arctic Ocean to the Mexican border, and from Key West, Florida, to Washington’s San Juan Islands. 

This year, BLM celebrates two significant milestones: our 70th Birthday and the 40th Anniversary of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), a federal law that provides direction for the BLM to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. 

Join our subscription list by emailing


Happy Earth Day 2015 from the BLM!

Enjoy a snapshot of your amazing public lands - #noplacelikehome.

Whether you #hike #ride #climb #bike or #volunteer, share your own nature photos today with tag #NatureSelfie.


Kicking off #mypubliclandsroadtrip Week 8 - Places to Beat the Heat – at the Beautiful California Coastal National Monument at Point Vicente.

The Palos Verdes Peninsula’s coastal beaches adjacent to the California Coastal National Monument rocks are an inviting place to beat the heat! Only minutes away from the fast-moving Los Angeles, the coast is filled with rugged natural beauty and majestic beaches while providing some of southern California’s last remaining untrammeled habitats for a variety of seals, birds, and intertidal organisms.

Considered one of the most beautiful areas in the world, Point Vicente is the centerpiece of breathtaking coastline vistas, dramatic steep cliffs, gracefully rolling hills, and off-shore rocks of the national monument. While visiting the coast, please view wildlife from a distance and give them the space and peace needed to breed and co-exist. 


#TravelTuesday with Guest Photographer Bob Wick to California’s Humboldt Coast!

A five hour drive north of San Francisco, California’s fog-shrouded Humboldt Coast is a land apart from the traffic and bustle of California’s urban centers. There are year-round photography opportunities here ranging from crashing winter storm waves to brilliant spring wildflowers; from towering redwoods to rushing mountain streams. The weather can be fickle so be prepared to adjust your photography for conditions.  Here are three of my favorite places that can all be fit into one multi-day trip.  

The King Range National Conservation Area is the largest patch of wilderness coastline on the west coast.  4,000 foot peaks rise majestically from the surf and almost 100 miles of hiking trails beckon to day hikers and backpackers.  One of my favorite spring hikes is to the historic Punta Gorda Lighthouse.  Fields of poppies and lupine peak here in May and last till early June.  Photo tip: Bring a long telephoto lens and hike a bit further south to capture a rare colony of Stellar sea lions on the offshore rocks. For a good wildlife shot, always focus on the eyes to make sure they are sharp. Don’t be afraid to shoot many exposures to increase your opportunity to capture interesting behaviors.

An hour to the north, the Headwaters Forest Reserve encompasses the last large tract of old-growth redwoods to be placed under public protection.  A level hiking trail along Elk River allows you to view restoration work and second-growth redwood along a moss shrouded stream corridor.  If you are more adventurous, take the 9 mile round-trip trail to enjoy a taste of primeval old growth redwood. Photo tip: Photography at Headwaters is best on grey foggy or rainy days when soft light and wet vegetation brings out the emerald green colors of the vegetation. Find a point of interest to make your photo stand out. It might be a path winding through the trees, or a trillium blooming among the ferns.  Also, consider having a person in the photo to lend scale to the massive trees.  

Your trip won’t be complete until you head twenty miles further up the coast is the picturesque village of Trinidad. Its coastline is framed by offshore rocks and islands that make up a particularly majestic slice of the California Coastal National Monument.  The area is a wildlife viewer and photographer’s dream. Birds such as black oystercatchers ply the shoreline rocks while seals and sea lions haul out just offshore.  On the larger rocks, further offshore, thousands of marine birds nest in spring and summer. Photo tip: Time your photography at low tide along rocky coastlines like those in Trinidad and tide-pool life on the rocks will add interest to the foreground.  Make sure to wipe your camera and lenses down after seacoast photography to remove salt residue.

Check out our @esri California Humboldt Coast multimedia storymap-journal for more stunning photos, videos, helpful links and maps of the area:


Happy Father’s Day from the BLM California Coastal National Monument!

The #mypubliclandsroadtrip spends Father’s Day along the California coast - enjoying stunning views, unique wildlife, and great hikes. Whether boating and fishing, hiking and backpacking, or just catching a few hours of sunshine, enjoy a day on public lands with family - the perfect Father’s Day gift.  

Thanks to the many fathers, grandfathers, and mentors who made and make the great outdoors possible for so many of us!

Celebrating #SeaOtterWeek!

Did you know that sea otters in California are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act? They range from San Mateo to Santa Barbara County in rocky marine habitats like those off the BLM’s Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area. 

Did you also know that BLM’s California Coastal National Monument comprises more than 20,000 rocks, islands, exposed reefs, and pinnacles along the 1,100 miles of California’s coast? 

BLM photo of a southern sea otter off of the Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area. 


As a part of our “wildlife watching” stops, #mypubliclandsroadtrip explores the rocky intertidal habitat of the California Coastal National Monument, home to many dynamic and sensitive seabirds. 

The carrot beaked bird shown here, the Black Oystercatcher, is dependent upon the untrammeled off-shore rocks and tide pools for breeding and foraging sites. Tidepooling – for interesting sea stars, crabs, limpets, and green anemones – is a favorite past time for Californians and a destination for visitors from around the world. We share this bird’s habitat for our health, play, work, discovery, and enjoyment. Please do not disturb or take tidepool organisms as they are an important part of the home of seals, sea lions, birds, and many wildlife species that use these rocks.  Along its 1,100 mile length, the California Coastal National Monument is a spectacular interplay of land and sea that reinforces the lasting connections between ourselves and nature. Explore #yourlands.

Photos by David Ledig, BLM


Check Out the August #conservationlands15 “Top 15″:  15 Amazing Urban Escapes on BLM’s National Conservation Lands! Close to Home, but A World Away.

1. Alaska, Steese National Conservation Area, Pinell Mountain Trail. Just over 2 hours from Fairbanks, this northernmost of U. S. National Recreation Trails traverses 27 miles of rolling tundra offering day hiking and backpack opportunities.  Come for the summer solstice to view the midnight sun.

2. Arizona, Hells Canyon Wilderness, Spring Valley Trail. A short 25 mile drive from Phoenix, this trail’s relatively gentle grades is great for the whole family. In addition to an array of Sonoran Desert wildlife, the resident burros may be seen along the trail.

3. California, California Coastal National Monument, Point Arena-Stornetta Unit. A 2-½ hour scenic drive from San Francisco through California’s wine country  enables San Francisco residents to escape the city for the small hamlet of Point Arena and its spectacular coastal headlands.  

4. California, North Fork American Wild and Scenic River. Follow the 49’rs and pan for gold in this crystal clear stream just an hour from Sacramento. 

5. Colorado, Beaver Creek Wilderness Study Area.  Just an hour from Colorado Springs and 2 hours from Denver, Beaver Creek offers miles of trail as well as fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities. Its lower elevation allows for an extended hiking season in comparison to Colorado’s high-country.

6. Florida, Jupiter Inlet Outstanding Natural Area. Less than 2 hours from Miami and even closer to Fort Lauderdale lies this historic lighthouse and surrounding restored coastal habitats.  Take a gentle walk along a trail and boardwalk to learn about the site’s important role in World War II.  

7. Idaho, Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. Just south of Boise, this bird-watching mecca is close enough for an after work trip and boasts one of the highest concentration of raptors in the world.

8. Virginia, Potomic Heritage National Scenic Trail. Just over 20 miles from the U. S. Capitol, the Meadowood Recreation Area provides a segment of the trail in a pastoral setting.

9. Montana, Pompey’s Pillar National Monument. Drive a short ½ hour from Billings to learn about the Lewis and Clark Expedition at the interpretive center then have a picnic along the cottonwood lined banks of the Yellowstone River.

10. Nevada, Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area. The entrance to Sloan Canyon, one of the most significant cultural resources in Southern Nevada, is almost within sight of the Las Vegas Strip. The area contains a concentration of over 300 petroglyphs.

11. New Mexico, Tent Rocks National Monument. Just an hour from Albuquerque and Santa Fe is an area of magical rock formations that seem to defy gravity. Hike through the unique array of hoodoos and a narrow slot canyon, and then enjoy a picnic under the pinyons. 

12. Oregon, Deschutes Wild and Scenic River. Two hours from Portland, the Deschutes is Central Oregon’s playground. Visitors can fish for steelhead and salmon or raft the exciting whitewater.

13. Utah, Cedar Mountain Wilderness. This vast 100,000 acre area is only an hour west of Salt Lake City.  It is a true wilderness experience with no formal trails.  Hardy-well prepared visitors will be rewarded with solitude and expansive vistas of the Great Basin.

14. Washington, San Juan Islands National Monument. Take a ferry from Seattle and escape to this archipelago of fir clad islands.  The National Monument includes several lighthouses, hiking trails and sea kayak campsites. 

15. Wyoming, National Historic Trails Visitor Center. Located right in Casper, Wyoming off of highway I-25. The Trails Center offers extensive interpretive materials and programs describing the emigrant trails that led to settling of the west.

Join us next month for the September #conservationlands15 Social Media Takeover and our Top 15 - Wilderness Adventures on National Conservation Lands.


Sharing the snow-capped Agua Fria National Monument!

On this day, President Bill Clinton established the Agua Fria, Grand Canyon-Parashant, and California Coastal National Monuments by Presidential Proclamation in 2000.  

Adjacent to rapidly expanding communities, the 70,900-acre Agua Fria National Monument is approximately 40 miles north of central Phoenix. The area is located on a high mesa semi-desert grassland, cut by the canyon of the Agua Fria River and other ribbons of valuable riparian forest, contributing to an outstanding biological resource. 

The diversity of vegetative communities, topographic features, and a dormant volcano decorates the landscape with a big rocky, basaltic plateau. The Agua Fria river canyon cuts through this plateau exposing precambrian rock along the canyon walls. Elevations range from 2,150 feet above sea level along the Agua Fria Canyon to about 4,600 feet in the northern hills. This expansive mosaic of semi-desert area, cut by ribbons of valuable riparian forest, offers one of the most significant systems of prehistoric sites in the American Southwest. In addition to the rich record of human history, the monument contains outstanding biological resources.

Photos by BLM Arizona. 


Thanks for following the #mypubliclandsroadtrip in California, and for celebrating the 15th anniversary of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands with us!  You can view a multimedia journal of the California roadtrip here:

Tomorrow, the roadtrip heads to Oregon and Washington.  Join us for beautiful landscapes, interesting wildlife and science, behind the scenes with employees, and more!


The #mypubliclandsroadtrip in California Goes Behind-the-Scenes with BLM Wilderness Specialist Bob Wick

Today, the #mypubliclandsroadtrip visits wilderness stops in BLM California. And who better to give a behind-the-scenes on wilderness than our own Bob Wick, photographer and BLM Wilderness Specialist?

There’s two “best things” (about my job). One is that I get to work on policy and troubleshooting questions with employees throughout the Bureau. The other amazing part of my job… I have been able to get out to all the western states and photograph some of the most spectacular landscapes on the planet – places that we in the BLM are entrusted to manage.  - Bob Wick

If you follow our My Public Lands accounts, Bob is like family.  You’ve experienced the landscapes, the wildlife, the resources of your public lands through Bob’s lens - like the California shots shown here.  

CLICK HERE to read the recent interview with Bob Wick, and learn more about his wilderness “day job” and his passion for the lands managed by the BLM’s National Conservation Lands.