blmnewmexico

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It’s International Dark Sky Week 2015!

The Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument in Arizona, jointly managed by the BLM’s National Conservation Lands and National Park Service, is a vast remote landscape where the only nighttime light comes from the stars. The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) recognized the unspoiled quality of its pristine and breathtaking night skies with an official IDA designation as “Parashant International Night Sky Province,” joining an elite group of other international Night Sky Places around the globe.

Enjoy the starry skies over the Grand Canyon Parashant along with other BLM lands that, while not official IDA sites, offer stunning views of the Milky Way. #SeeBLM #findyourpark

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

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Great #wildlifewednesday closeup – a black-chinned hummingbird lands softly onto her nest. 

Thanks to Sherman Hogue, BLM New Mexico, for sharing this video.

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#mypubliclandsroadtrip kicks of the weekend at Three Rivers Petroglyph Site in New Mexico, a site that offers direct access to petroglyphs.

The number and concentration of petroglyphs at Three Rivers make it one of the largest and most interesting petroglyphs sites in the Southwest. More than 21,000 glyphs of birds, humans, animals, fish, insects and plants as well as numerous geometric and abstract designs are scattered over 50 acres of New Mexico’s northern Chihuahuan Desert. The petroglyphs at Three Rivers, dating back to between about 900 and 1400 AD, were created by the Jornada Mogollon people who used stone tools to remove the dark patina on the exterior of the rock. A small pueblo ruin is nearby and Sierra Blanca towers above to the east.

A detailed guide to the petroglyphs is available at the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site.  CLICK HERE to plan your visit.

George McJunkin was a remarkable man whose discovery re-wrote the books on early man in North America.  His intellectual curiosity and determination continue to inspire a new generation of archaeologists.  

George McJunkin was born a slave near Midway, Texas in 1851.  George was freed at the age of 14 after the Civil War ended.  Although he was fluent in Spanish, experienced with horses, and used to helping his father in his blacksmith shop, he never had the opportunity to learn to read.  He left home to join a cattle drive, ended up in northeastern New Mexico, and never returned to Texas.  Along the way he stopped to help a man dig a well.  He earned a handful of quarters, the first money he had ever been paid for his work.  He used it to buy the first footwear he had ever worn– a used pair of cowboy boots.  

His skills increased with each new job he took on, and eventually word got around that he was one of the best horse breakers and cowboys in New Mexico.  He traded lessons in breaking horses for lessons in reading, and soon began reading anything he could get his hands on.  He had always been curious about the natural world around him, and was particularly interested in science.

George McJunkin was the foreman of the Crowfoot Ranch when the great flood of 1908 hit Folsom.  At least 15 people were killed in the flood, including the telephone operator, who died at her switchboard trying to warn people of the flood.  After the flood, George was out riding, assessing the damage and saw something eroding out some 13 feet below the ground surface.  He recognized them as bison bones, but they were much larger than modern bison, and were partially mineralized.  George realized that the find was significant and tried to get an expert to look at his discovery, but it did not happen until after his death in 1922.  Eventually scientists did study the Folsom Site, and it rocked the scientific world.  Previously it had been thought that no humans inhabited North America much before the birth of Christ, and this discovery made scientific history, establishing a human presence some 7,000 years earlier.

In 1926, archaeologists studied the site, and the first scientific article was published in 1927 in the Natural History Magazine.  Eventually George was given credit for his find.  His hunger for knowledge and his persistence eventually earned George McJunkin a place in history, but he didn’t live to see it.

For those who would like to learn more, The Life and Legend of George McJunkin by Franklin Folsom is an inspiring book geared to older children or young teens, but it is an enjoyable read for adults too.

Story by Brenda Wilkinson, Archaeologist. Photos by Historic Photo, Photo courtesy Georgia and Bill Lockridge, former owners of the Crowfoot Ranch.

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BLM New Mexico – with offices in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas – recently announced the winners of their annual employee photo contest. A few of our favorites are featured here; click photos for employee names and titles.

Visit the BLM New Mexico Flickr to view all contest winners.

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Organ Mountains featured by the Los Angeles Times: “Walk in the footsteps of Billy the Kid and Apollo astronauts at this national monument in New Mexico”

Michael Mello of the Los Angeles Times shared, “As you drive through this crossroads of the Southwest, it’s difficult not to notice the sawtooth-ridged mountains bracketing the city to the east. Known as the Organ Mountains, these rhyolite and andesite peaks emboss New Mexico’s southern basin and range area. The mountains love to show off in the evening, reflecting the orange hues of the setting sun.” Read the full article HERE.

The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument was established on May 21, 2014, by Presidential Proclamation, and is a part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands. The National Monument - a total of 496,330 acres - includes four distinct areas with a wide variety of recreation opportunities: the Organ Mountains, Desert Peaks, Potrillo Mountains, and Doña Ana Mountains.

The Organ Mountains range from 4,600 to just over 9,000 feet, and are so named because of the steep, needle-like spires that resemble the pipes of an organ. Alligator juniper, gray oak, mountain mahogany and sotol are the dominant plant species here, but in the upper elevations stands of ponderosa pine may be found. Seasonal springs and streams occur in canyon bottoms, with a few perennial springs that support riparian habitats. Wildlife includes desert mule deer, mountain lion, a variety of song birds, and a race of the Colorado chipmunk. 

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#mypubliclandsroadtrip ends the day at Diablo Canyon Recreation Area - a popular film site in BLM New Mexico. Its film credits include: Cowboys and Aliens (2011), 3:10 to Yuma (2007), The Missing (2003), and City Slickers (1991).  These and many other public land locations in New Mexico are transformed into film sets through BLM film permits

More than a movie set, the cracked basalt of Diablo Canyon makes for some of the best multi-pitch tradition and sport rock climbing in New Mexico. In this area alone, there are over one hundred routes ranging from 5.8 to 5.13 in difficulty - all just 16.4 miles northwest of Santa Fe.  Check out the climbing on BLM New Mexico YouTube.

BLM photos courtesy of Steven W. Martin Photography

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On this day in 2001, the Carrizo Plain, Sonoran Desert, Pompeys Pillar, Upper Missouri River Breaks, and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monuments were established by Presidential Proclamation. 

CLICK HERE to learn more about the national monuments managed by the BLM’s National Conservation Lands.

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

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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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#OTD -  President Clinton signed the Rio Grande Designation Act of 1994, which expanded the area of the river incorporated in the Wild and Scenic Rivers system.

The Río Grande Wild and Scenic River, located within the Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico, includes 74 miles of the river as it passes through the 800-foot deep Río Grande Gorge.  Flowing out of the snowcapped Rocky Mountains in Colorado, the river journeys 1,900 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.  Here the river flows in a rugged and scenic part of northern New Mexico.  The river was made a part of the National Wild and Scenic River System in 1968; among the first eight rivers Congress designated as Wild and Scenic.  The river gorge is home to numerous species of wildlife, including big horn sheep, river otter, and the Río Grande cutthroat trout.

The Río Grande Wild and Scenic River, managed by the BLM’s National Conservation Lands, also provides a wide variety of recreational opportunities, luring anglers, hikers, artists, and whitewater boating enthusiasts.  

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

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Haunted homesteads? Check out these abandoned homestead properties, ruins, and spooky ghost towns you will find on public lands in New Mexico. View the entire photo collection with descriptions on BLM New Mexico’s Flickr. #BLMhistory

BLM Photos Courtesy of Loran Meares. 

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Thanks for following the #mypubliclandsroadtrip in BLM New Mexico!

View the BLM New Mexico roadtrip journal-storymap here: http://mypubliclands.tumblr.com/roadtripnewmexico.

Next week, the roadtrip stops in BLM Montana/ Dakotas for badlands, national monuments, ringing rocks, ghost towns, and more.

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#GOWILDforEveryKid in the Hoodoos and Spires at Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness in BLM New Mexico!

The 41,170-acre Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness in New Mexico is a remote desolate area of steeply eroded badlands which offers some of the most unusual scenery found in the Four Corners region. Time and natural elements have etched a fantasy world of strange rock formations and fossils. It is an ever-changing environment that offers the visitor a remote wilderness experience.

The two major geological formations found in the wilderness are the Fruitland Formation and the Kirtland Shale. The Fruitland Formation makes up most of what a visitor will see while in the badlands and contains interbedded sandstone, shale, mudstone, coal, and silt. The weathering of the sandstone forms the many spires and hoodoos (sculpted rock) found throughout the area. And the Kirtland Shale contains rock of various colors and dominates the eastern part of the wilderness. More hands-on learning than any kid (or adult) could imagine possible! CLICK HERE to 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.

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New Mexico is known for 300+ days of blue skies and sunny weather each year. But when it ’s stormy, dramatic photographs of public land can be had! Bundle up, keep a safe distance, and enjoy your wet and wonderful public lands.

BLM employee photos from BLM New Mexico Facebook; photo credit in each caption.

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Check out the recreation.gov feature article about Organ Mountains—Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico.

The 496,330 acre Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument was established on May 21, 2014, by Presidential Proclamation. The BLM-managed national monument includes four distinct areas: the Organ Mountains, Desert Peaks, Potrillo Mountains, and Doña Ana Mountains.

While all four areas offer unique recreational opportunities, the most developed portion of the monument is the Organ Mountains which is the location of the Visitor Center at Dripping Springs. The Organ Mountains are a steep, angular mountain range with rocky spires that jut majestically above the Chihuahuan Desert floor to an elevation of 9,000 feet. It is so named because the needle-like spires resemble the pipes of an organ. This picturesque area of rocky peaks, narrow canyons, and open woodlands ranges from Chihuahuan Desert habitat to ponderosa pine in the highest elevations. Located adjacent to and on the east side of Las Cruces, this part of the Monument provides many opportunities for photography, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, camping, and wildlife viewing. There are several recreation areas within the Monument including the Dripping Springs Natural Area, the Aguirre Spring Campground, four National Recreation Trails, and many miles of hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking trails.

CLICK HERE to plan your visit and #SeeBLM.

Photos by Lisa Phillips, BLM New Mexico

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#GOWILDForEveryKid: BLM New Mexico’s Organ Mountains WSA offers amazing mountain views and wildlife habitat

The Organ Mountains Wilderness Study Area is located in south-central New Mexico on the eastern edge of Las Cruces. The Organ Mountains range from 4,600 to just over 9,000 feet, and are so named because of the steep, needle-like spires that resemble the pipes of an organ. Alligator juniper, gray oak, mountain mahogany and sotol are the dominant plant species here, but in the upper elevations stands of ponderosa pine may be found. Seasonal springs and streams occur in canyon bottoms, with a few perennial springs that support riparian habitats. Wildlife includes desert mule deer, mountain lion, a variety of song birds, and a race of the Colorado chipmunk. The WSA includes the Baylor Pass National Recreation Trail.  

Photos by BLMer Bob Wick. 

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.  

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Beautiful Views from the Continental Divide WSA

The Continental Divide Wilderness Study Area is located in the east-central part of New Mexico. The landmark of this area is Pelona Mountain, rising to 9,212 feet. Rolling grassland gives way to steeper slopes covered in piñon pine woodland and ponderosa pine forest, although the summit of the mountain itself is mostly grassland. Views from the top of Pelona Mountain stretch out for miles across the surrounding plains.

The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail passes through this WSA. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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

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Not Much Better on Halloween Weekend than Bones – Dinosaur Bones That Is. Check Out Pentaceratops Ops!

Yesterday, Oct. 29, 2015, the BLM New Mexico and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Department of Cultural Affairs and National Guard partnered to airlift the full skeletal remains of the first baby Pentaceratops ever discovered and the skull of an adult Pentaceratops out of the Bisti Wilderness and Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness Study Area. Both locations are a part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands.

The skeleton of the baby Pentaceratops was discovered in 2011 in the Bisti Wilderness south of Farmington by Amanda Cantrell, NMMNHS Geoscience Collections Manager.  Two years later, NMMNHS Research Associate Dr. Robert Sullivan found an adult skull of Pentaceratops in the Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness Study area, about 10 miles from Cantrell’s discovery. Pentaceratops takes its name, which means “five-horned face,” from its five horns, one above the nostril, two above the eyes and one on each cheek. 

After the NMMNHS crew worked two years to excavate the dinosaurs, the bones were encased in three large plaster blocks, each weighing three-quarters to one ton each. National Guard crews worked with staff from NMMNHS and the BLM in rigging cargo netting for the Black Hawk to airlift the fossils to a transport vehicle. The fossils were then moved to the NMMNHS in Albuquerque where they will be unveiled to the public next month.

CLICK HERE for airlift photos and videos from the NM Natonal Guard.

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Vintage Poster Series: Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico

Go for a hike and listen for an eagle as it soars above an 800-foot gorge, fish in world-class trout waters, marvel at a herd of elk crossing the desolate plateau, or raft alongside the river otter. You have entered the natural world of the Río Grande del Norte National Monument, featured in the new vintage poster series that celebrates our National Conservation Lands.

The landscape of this special place in northern New Mexico is a showcase of stark, wide open spaces covering 242,500 acres. At an average elevation of 7,000 feet, the monument is dotted by volcanic cones and cut by steep canyons. While the Río Grande carves a deep gorge through layers of volcanic basalt flows and ash, nearby cottonwoods and willows shelter abundant songbirds and waterfowl. An amazing array of wildlife lives among the piñon and juniper woodlands and the mountaintops of ponderosa, Douglas fir, aspen, and spruce. 

Since prehistoric times this area has attracted human activity, as evidenced by petroglyphs, prehistoric dwelling sites, and many other types of archaeological discoveries. Abandoned homesteads from the 1930s reflect more recent activity. On March 25, 2013, a Presidential proclamation designated the area a national monument, managed by the BLM. 

Download your copy of the new Rio Grande del Norte vintage poster from our Flickr site: http://bit.ly/1zMc1cN.