Desert-Bighorn-Sheep

Check out this bighorn sheep escalator! Once endangered and wary of human contact, the small number of desert bighorn sheep in Colorado National Monument are often hard to find, making this picture incredible and unique. Photo by Molly Murphy, National Park Service.

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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

Kofa National Wildlife Refuge is the second largest wilderness area in #Arizona. A campaign by the Arizona Boy Scouts helped establish the refuge in 1939 to protect desert bighorn sheep and other wildlife. The refuge’s name – Kofa – comes from an acronym for one of the area’s most notable mines, the King of Arizona gold mine. Photo of mountains, palo verde & brittlebush by Brian Powell (www.sharetheexperience.org).

Welcome to the world, little girl! Two week-old desert bighorn sheep. As I was looking up the cliff today, she was running fast across the face of the cliff, and then up and down, bleating away. Bighorn lamb are climbing cliffs and running along tiny ledges a day after birth. I can’t watch them without incipient heart failure.

This is the time of year when federal agencies do their annual bighorn census. Helicopters were flying over the canyons between Joshua Tree National Park and Mt. San Gorgonio the last few days, doing their counts. February and March are lambing months (i.e., babies born).

Photo by rjzimmerman March 6, 2016.

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BLM Winter Bucket List #10: Ironwood Forest National Monument, Arizona, for Mild Temperatures and Winter Photography

Taking its name from one of the longest living trees in the Arizona desert, the Ironwood Forest National Monument protects 129,000 acres of spectacular Sonoran Desert mountains blanketed with saguaro cacti and ironwood trees. The winter light on the photogenic peaks - plus an average January high temperature of 65 degrees F - make the Ironwood an appealing wintertime public lands destination.

Ragged Top Mountain is the biological and geological crown jewel of the national monument. Several endangered and threatened species live here, including the Nichols turk’s head cactus and the lesser long-nosed bat. The national monument also contains habitat for the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl. The desert bighorn sheep dwelling in the region are the last viable population indigenous to the Tucson basin. The area holds abundant rock art sites and other archaeological objects of scientific interest.

Learn more about Ironwood Forest NM: http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/blm_special_areas/natmon/ironwood.html

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

Desert Bighorn Sheep. Not many in Zion, but we managed to see ten of them! Here’s one up on a hill, silhouetted against the evening sky. We were on our way to a good lookout for the sunset when we spotted a Bighorn on a small ledge on the side of the road. Went back to the spot and found not only one, but ten(!) Bighorn Sheep, a mix of ewes and lambs (maybe a male or two in there, too… hard to tell). I climbed up on a short ledge and took a ton of photos of them and this was the very last. A Bighorn had made its way to the top of the hill and we patiently waited for quite a while until it turned to give us this great profile. Metered for the sky and used a combo of small aperture / fast shutter speed to get the image. Processed the photo in black-and-white.

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#mypubliclandsroadtrip continues this week with Something Different – some of the most unique locations managed by the BLM, from movie sets to geologic wonders to speedways.

Our Something Different posts begin in a desert forest of giants. Taking its name from one of the longest living trees in the Arizona desert, the 129,000-acre Ironwood Forest National Monument is a true Sonoran Desert showcase. Keeping company with the ironwood trees are mesquite, palo verde, creosote, and saguaro, blanketing the monument floor beneath rugged mountain ranges named Silver Bell, Waterman and Sawtooth. In between, desert valleys lay quietly to complete the setting.

Elevations here range from 1,800 to more than 4,200 feet. Ragged Top Mountain is the biological and geological crown jewel of the national monument. Several endangered and threatened species live here, including the Nichols turk’s head cactus and the lesser long-nosed bat. The national monument also contains habitat for the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl and desert bighorn sheep dwelling, which makes hiking, wildlife watching and photography favorite activities in this desert jewel.

Follow along all week as we add new locations to the #mypubliclandsroadtrip map and our Something Different storymap journal!

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The 19,410-acre Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness is 120 miles southeast of Phoenix, Arizona in Graham and Pinal counties. The wilderness includes the 11-mile long Aravaipa Canyon, as well as, the surrounding tablelands and nine side canyons. Within the colorful 1,000-foot canyon walls, outstanding scenery, wildlife, and rich history are all protected. Seven species of native desert fish, desert bighorn sheep, and over 200 species of birds live among shady cottonwoods along the perennial waters of Aravaipa Creek. A permit is required to enter Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness. Use is limited to 50 people per day; this provides solitude for the visitor and reduces impacts to the environment.

Learn more: http://on.doi.gov/1esTgAt

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Happy #fathersday!  Thanks to the fathers, grandfathers, brothers and mentors for teaching us to #fish #boat #camp #ride #explore – and most of all, appreciate the great outdoors.

This #fathersday weekend, #mypubliclandsroadtrip enjoys the rugged beauty and solitude of the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness in Arizona, a part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands. The wilderness includes the 11 mile long Aravaipa Canyon, surrounding tablelands and nine side canyons. Within the colorful 1,000 foot canyon walls, desert bighorn sheep and over 200 species of birds live among shady cottonwoods along the perennial waters of Aravaipa Creek.  A great roadtrip just two hours from Phoenix - explore #yourlands with dad!

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM.

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The 19,410-acre Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness is 120 miles southeast of Phoenix, Arizona in Graham and Pinal counties. The wilderness includes the 11-mile long Aravaipa Canyon, as well as, the surrounding tablelands and nine side canyons. Within the colorful 1,000-foot canyon walls, outstanding scenery, wildlife, and rich history are all protected. Seven species of native desert fish, desert bighorn sheep, and over 200 species of birds live among shady cottonwoods along the perennial waters of Aravaipa Creek. A permit is required to enter Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness. Use is limited to 50 people per day; this provides solitude for the visitor and reduces impacts to the environment.

Learn more: http://on.doi.gov/1esTgAt

Photo: Bob Wick, BLM-California