general land office

The Amana Fish Weir site in Iowa County is well-documented site that is now “lost”… It’s definitely not lost in the sense that it has been destroyed like so many other archaeological sites, but instead it is now completely buried by the shifting Iowa River!  Due to drifting and flooding, the river formed a new channel and began to silt in this V-shaped weir. It’s estimated that it is now covered by at least five feed of silt!  

This fish weir was first documented in 1844 on a General Land Office map, but the exact age of the weir is unknown.

This image is from a 1969 postcard, copyrighted by Penfield Press in Iowa City.

Bill Whittaker wrote about this phenomenon in a 2013 issue of the Newsletter of the Iowa Archeological Society, and you can also read about the site in the The Archaeological Guide to Iowa.


Happy 150th Birthday, Yosemite!

To celebrate their significant milestone, this report regarding the land grant is on exhibit at Yosemite National Park now through October 18!

Report from James W. Edmunds, Commissioner of the General Land Office to the chair of the House Committee on Public Lands, regarding the proposed legislation to cede Yosemite Gorge and the Big Oak Grove to California, 6/25/1864, HR 38A-E19.1, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives


On this day in 1946, the General Land Office and the Grazing Service merged and became the Bureau of Land Management within the Department of the Interior (@americasgreatoutdoors).  With historical roots spanning 200+ years, the BLM now manages many places – like ghost towns, mining camps, and homesteads – that give visitors a glimpse of our nation’s history.

And we manage national monuments, wilderness, wild and scenic rivers and other specially-designated areas as well as recreation areas - from backyard to backcountry - with an eye to the future.

Today, on our 69th “birthday,” we share a few of those amazing landscapes.  


Protecting Native American culture and history with NAGPRA

Today is the 26th anniversary of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), a law enacted in 1990.  This law was intended to secure the rights of Indian tribes to determine the disposition of their ancestors and funerary objects, as well as their rightful claims to objects necessary for the religious practices and items inherent to tribal identity—sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony.

Native American cultural sites cover our public lands.  For millennia, tribal people lived on these lands.  They hunted, fished, and farmed for food and sustenance.  They studied the lands, the animals, plants, and sky, learning from nature, watching the stars.  They built towns and cities. They explored, traded, and battled. They worshipped and practiced sacred rites. They raised their children. They buried their dead.

Our public lands include vast cultural landscapes covered with special places, some of which have been the subject of archaeological investigations, including burial sites.  Most collections made from public lands over the last 100 years were curated in non-federal museums or universities designated in permits issued under the Antiquities Act of 1906 and the Archeological Resources Protection Act of 1979.

Keep reading


On this day in 1946, the General Land Office and Grazing Service merged to become the Bureau of Land Management!

Today, we manage more than 245 million acres of public land and administer 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate in support of the following mission:

To sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

In celebration, we’re sharing a stunning photo collection of of America’s public lands cared for by the BLM’s 10,000+ employees, volunteers, and partners. Explore #yourlands!

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Celebrating BLM’s organic act, FLPMA

In passing the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, or FLPMA, Congress formally recognized what the BLM was already doing—managing public lands for multiple-use and sustained yield.

Today, the BLM manages 10 percent of the land in the U.S. and 1/3 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.

October 21 is the 40th anniversary of this remarkable legislation. Please join us in celebrating our history as we work every day to manage your public lands for the benefit of both present and future generations.


Working Landscapes: Livestock Grazing on the Agua Fria National Monument

Livestock grazing played an important role in our history and how we settled the west.  The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 established the US Grazing Service and was passed as a means to provide regulation of grazing on public lands to improve rangeland conditions.  When the US Grazing Service and the General Land Office merged to become the BLM in 1946, livestock grazing continued as a valid, permitted land use; it continues as a legitimate land use today.