backyard2backcountry

Ending the weekend with a starry night sky over the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area in Oregon - the first feature location in our BLM Winter Bucket List Series, launched today.

CLICK HERE to view the first bucket list post.

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Celebrating Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument’s Golden Birthday! 

The vast and austere landscape of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) offers a spectacular array of scientific and historic resources. Encompassing 1.9 million acres, the Monument was created on September 18, 1996 by presidential proclamation – the first monument entrusted to BLM management. World-class dinosaur excavations have yielded more information about ecosystem change at the end of the dinosaur era than almost any other place in the world. Among the fossil finds, paleontologists have identified dinosaurs not previously known to have inhabited this region, as well as several new species.

The vast landscapes of GSENM offers visitors a variety of recreational opportunities for a wide range of users. From the solitude of lonesome canyons to the excitement of winding rugged backways, the Monument is truly a treasure.

Plan your visit and learn more: http://on.doi.gov/1fJIy7a

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM 

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Tomorrow, the first day of winter, we’re kicking off our WINTER BUCKET LIST series!

Each day of winter, we’ll feature BLM-managed locations that you should add to your bucket list - for spectacular winter scenery, unique features and events, and even a few warmer locations for a winter getaway. #SeeBLM

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BLM Winter Bucket List #1: Steens Mountain CMPA, Oregon, for a Rugged Winter Adventure

The Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area is 428,156 acres of public land offering diverse scenic and recreational experiences. The CMPA encompasses an extraordinary landscape with deep glacier carved gorges, stunning scenery, wilderness and wild rivers, and a rich diversity of plant and animal species. The 52-mile Steens Mountain Backcountry Byway provides access to four campgrounds, and the views from Kiger Gorge, East Rim, Big Indian Gorge, Wildhorse, and Little Blitzen Gorge overlooks are not to be missed! 

In the winter, the more rugged and daring outdoors enthusiasts can cross-country ski, snowshoe, or snowmobile in a natural remoteness that goes beyond the concept of ‘no cell service’.

CLICK HERE to plan your winter adventure.

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#GetOutdoors and enjoy your public lands today!

Located off the 1,100 miles of California coastline, the BLM-managed California Coastal National Monument comprises more than 20,000 small islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles between Mexico and Oregon. The monument provides feeding and nesting habitat for an estimated 200,000 breeding seabirds as well as forage and breeding habitat for marine mammals including the southern sea otters and California sea lions.

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

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BLM 2014 Highlights: We hosted over 60 million visits to BLM-managed public lands for recreational activities as diverse as the lands themselves.

On approximately 250 million acres of public lands, the BLM provided a wide variety of recreational opportunities for national and international visitors, from hunting and fishing to horseback riding and boating to birding and wildlife viewing. In an increasingly urbanized West, these recreational opportunities and the settings where these activities take place are vital to the quality of life enjoyed by residents of western states.  

In support of local communities and partnerships, the BLM released a new recreation strategy last year – 2014 BLM Recreation Strategy Connecting With Communities. CLICK HERE to read the strategy.

Bob Wick, Wilderness Specialist for the BLM’s National Conservation Lands, sent us this photo from the Forty Mile Wild and Scenic River, BLM Alaska.  His message - The moose calves were not photoshopped - their legs really are that lanky!

See the Forty Mile and amazing wildlife for yourself - CLICK HERE to plan your visit.  #GetOutdoors #backyard2backcountry

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Today marks the first day of Great Outdoors Month 2014!  

June is designated as Great Outdoors Month each year through a Presidential Proclamation, and highlights the numerous benefits of getting outdoors on our American parks, forests, refuges, and other public lands and waters. Great Outdoors Month features include National Trails Day®, National Fishing and Boating Week, the Great American Backyard Campout, and National Get Outdoors Day.  

All month, we’ll be posting amazing places - from #backyard2backcountry - where you can enjoy the great outdoors.

The Denali Highway in Alaska was the main route to Denali National Park until it was bypassed by a faster more direct route - a perfect example of why it’s sometimes better to enjoy a slower trek on the back roads instead of rushing to a destination.  The route hugs the south side of the Alaska Range for 135 miles, 110 miles of which are gravel - any road not requiring 4x4 is called a highway here!  Adventurous travelers come from all over the world to experience its breathtaking scenery. The BLM maintains waysides and campgrounds along the highway, and visitors can also stay at several lodges. #getoutdoors #backyard2backcountry

I took “Denali Sunset” at about 1 AM as the sunset glow ignited high cirrus clouds rolling in with the approach of the next storm.  The thin clouds lit up like fire and reflected the same surreal flaming glow on the lakes below.

By Bob Wick, Wilderness Specialist for the BLM’s National Conservation Lands

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BLM Winter Bucket List #3: Garnet Ghost Town in Montana for Its Winter Cabins

If you follow My Public Lands, you likely know Garnet Ghost Town - from our history posts, recent Halloween feature, and of course, BLMer Bob Wick’s amazing photos of the historic buildings and surrounding landscape.  The photos provide a window into this abandoned mining town and our nation’s gold rush era.

But each winter, you can have much more than photographs.  The BLM has two cabins available to rent from December through April at the old site.  The surrounding area contains more than 116 miles of trails, including the 32-mile Garnet National Winter Recreation Trail. It’s a popular destination among winter recreation enthusiasts who enjoy skiing and snowmobiling in the rugged terrain.

Add Garnet to your bucket list if you want a “ghostly” quiet getaway. CLICK HERE to learn more.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

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Check Out What Happened Last Week at the BLM: Dec. 29, 2014 – Jan. 2, 2015

News and Events

On Dec. 29, the BLM transferred $115 million to the U.S. Treasury for revenue generated from the sale and auction of crude helium from the Federal Helium Reserve, a resource owned by the American people and managed by the BLM’s Amarillo, Texas, Field Office. The transfer augments an earlier transfer of $100 million for a total of $215 million for 2014. Read the full story on the Department of the Interior’s website.

Social Media Highlights

On Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve, the BLM featured its most popular 2014 monthly posts on My Public Lands Tumblr.  The BLM also celebrated 2,000 posts on My Public Lands Tumblr.

Last week, the BLM rounded out its BLM 2014 Highlights with a nod to the 10,000+ employees who manage the agency’s lands and resources.  Read the 2014 highlights posts on My Public Lands Tumblr.

The BLM shared additional Winter Bucket List locations on social media last week. Each day of winter, the BLM’s social media accounts will feature a location ready-made for everyone’s bucket list - for spectacular winter scenery, unique features and events, and even a few warmer locations for a winter getaway. Follow the bucket list series on My Public Lands Tumblr and My Public Lands Instagram.  You also can download the photos from our Winter Bucket List album on My Public Lands Flickr

Tomorrow, we join outdoor enthusiasts from around the country in celebration of Great Outdoors Month!  Why not get a jump start on the celebration?

Grab friends and family and #getoutdoors - from #backyard2backcountry.

Photo by Kathy Lichtendahl in Northern Wyoming on Southfork.

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The first official summer weekend brings us to the Delta Wild and Scenic River in Alaska.  

The rolling tundra dotted with lakes and bisected by the Delta River rises to a backdrop of the majestic peaks of the Alaska Range. The upper Delta flows between several lakes, including Tangle Lake.  

The Delta Wild and Scenic River Watershed includes 150,000 acres of land, 160 miles of streams and 21 lakes, providing excellent habitat for over 100 species of migrating birds and waterfowl as well as grayling, whitefish, lake trout, burbot, and longnose suckers.  Much of the watershed is surrounded by arctic tundra with grasses and sedges making it a popular place for berry picking and for migrating caribou.  

The southern stretches of the Delta Wild and Scenic River Corridor are located within the Tangle Lakes Archaeological District and contain hundreds of archaeological sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  

Plan your own adventure to the Wild and Scenic Delta.  #GetOutdoors #backyard2backcountry

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

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BLM Winter Bucket List #6: Lake Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, for the Annual Eagle Count

In many parts of the country, it’s rare to catch a glimpse of a bald eagle, but imagine seeing scores of them in a single day.  When winter weather arrives in Canada, large numbers of eagles decide it’s time to move along, and one of their favorite stops is Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

So what’s the attraction for these stunning birds? A plentiful supply of spawned-out kokanee salmon in the lake.

From November to February each year, the BLM records the eagle migration - a record 240 eagles were spotted in just one day in 2013. The spectacle becomes a regional attraction – with activities, tours and boat rides on the lake.

You can join the activities during Eagle Week this year - December 27-31 - or plan a quiet visit.  Learn more: http://on.fb.me/1BcctSj 

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Happy Wilderness Wednesday from BLM Montana/Dakotas

To celebrate #Wilderness50 we’re heading out to the Terry Badlands in Eastern Montana. This 44,000 acre Wilderness Study Area was formed from sedimentary rocks which have been eroded by eons of water and wind forming arches, bridges, flat tabletops, pinnacles, spires and scoria escarpments.

The Terry Badlands are home to a wide variety of unique ecological, biological, and geological sites many with historical interest. Recreational uses range from hiking and bicycling to hunting and horseback riding. While there are no established campsites, the Terry Badlands WSA has plenty of places suitable for overnight camping.  Great place to explore the amazing multiple uses of your public lands for #GreatOutdoorsMonth. 

Learn more about the Terry Badlands athttp://visitmt.com/listing/categories_NET/MoreInfo.aspx?IDRRecordID=7012
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14 Years Since the Start of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands

The Bureau of Land Management’s National Conservation Lands was created 14 years ago this week when, following a discussion with Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, BLM Director Tom Fry issued an Instruction Memorandum creating the system. The memo announced that the bureau’s diverse assemblage of existing conservation designations would be managed under the umbrella of this new system. From these modest beginnings, less than 9 years later, the growing system of National Conservation Lands was formally codified under law with the passage of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009.

These BLM lands cover more than 10 percent of the surface area that the bureau manages, and almost every field office oversees at least one unit. They are different from conservation lands managed by other Federal agencies – mostly more remote, less developed and open to a broader variety of multiple uses. The unique nature of the National Conservation Lands is a reflection of the creativity and dedication of the broad cross section of employees in the BLM who are responsible for their stewardship.

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The weekend ends as the sun sets over the Salmon River in BLM-Idaho.

Dubbed by early explorers as the “river of no return,” the Salmon River not only offers a diversity of recreational opportunities, but the chance to view spectacular beauty along one of the longest completely free-flowing rivers (425 miles) in the lower 48 states. From the diverse landscapes of narrow basalt gorges to the exciting rapids that plunge through its depths, the Salmon River’s beauty is unmistakable. Numerous white, sandy beaches on both sides of the river offer opportunities for camping and fishing. 

Plan your next weekend trip!  #Getoutdoors