morley nelson

Photo: susankinidaho - flickr

Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area


Rare and gorgeous birds abound in this protected wildlife sanctuary.

Prairie Falcon

Photo: Bryce Robinson - flickr

Swainson’s Hawk

Photo: John Williams - flickr

Red Tailed Hawk

Photo: djbartling - flickr


#TravelTuesday with BLM Wilderness Specialist Bob Wick to Idaho’s Canyon Country!

Southern Idaho’s Snake River Plain’s basalt uplands are dissected by several deep river canyons that offer spectacular scenery and world-class bird viewing and photography opportunities among their recreation offerings.  Just south of Boise is the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. This area supports one of the world’s densest concentrations of nesting birds of prey and hosts about 800 pairs of falcons, eagles, hawks and owls that arrive each spring to mate and raise their young.  Catch a glimpse of the area’s birds of prey at Dedication Point, a dramatic overlook on the rim of the Snake River Canyon. A ¼-mile trail with interpretive signs offers insights about the birds, geology and other wildlife. 

Photo tip: Photographing moving wildlife, especially flying birds, requires a very fast shutter speed.   I typically use 1/1000 of a second or faster.  By panning your camera and shooting images as you match the speed of the wildlife, you’ll get sharper images and also blur the background, creating a greater sense of movement.

A bit further from Boise, but still within an easy drive, is the Bruneau Canyon Overlook. The Overlook is the only readily accessible spot from which to view this deep canyon carved through basalt and rhyolite by the Bruneau River, recently protected by Congress as a Wild and Scenic River. The canyon appears to be narrower than it is deep which is almost the case – the opposite rim is only 1,300 feet away from the overlook, and the drop from rim to riverbed is 800 feet. From this spot near the northern terminus of the 60-mile canyon, you can view the wild and scenic Bruneau River tumbling out of the Bruneau-Jarbidge Rivers Wilderness.  The viewpoint provides a taste of one of the more remote corners of the U. S. – the Bruneau-Jarbidge-Owyhee River Canyon system.  These canyons offer whitewater boating, fishing, hunting, and unlimited exploring for properly equipped adventurers.

Photo tip: Canyons and other landscapes with sharp differences between bright sun and deep shade surfaces can be especially hard to photograph as your camera’s sensor can only pick up a certain range of light – much less than your eye can.  Cloudy days and the time right before sunrise and right after sunset have much lower range of brightness and are perfect for capturing these landscapes.  A technique called High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography is another method for capturing landscapes with highly contrasting light levels.  HDR software blends multiple images taken at different exposures.

Check out our @esri Idaho Canyon Country multimedia storymap for more stunning photos, helpful links and a map of the area: .


Thank you for following the BLM Idaho week of the #mypubliclandsroadtrip! From wild and scenic rivers to archaeological digs and ghost towns to sand dunes and caves, check out the recap in the BLM Idaho multimedia roadtrip journal:

Tomorrow, join us as #mypubliclandsroadtrip heads to BLM California for beautiful beaches, solitude in the desert, and so much more!


#mypubliclandsroadtrip Recap in BLM Idaho

On the Idaho leg of our summer roadtrip, we hiked a volcano, visited a ghost town, and drove a buggy around the St. Anthony Dunes.  And we explored stunning Idaho waterways - from lakes to wild and scenic rivers - known for world-class fishing and boating.  Click individual photos for name and photographer.

Check out all BLM Idaho photos on My Public Lands Flickr, and view the BLM Idaho storymap journal!


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.  


The #mypubliclandsroadtrip Returns for Another Summer of Adventure!

The Bureau of Land Management manages over 245 million acres of public land on behalf of the American people. Last summer, we headed out on a virtual #mypubliclandsroadtrip to “visit” those lands from east to west.  

Kicking off today, the #mypubliclandsroadtrip 2016 will feature diverse landscapes and unique resources on your public lands by activity and interest, from the best camping sites to cool geological processes and formations to ghost towns. Follow the virtual roadtrip today through Labor Day, and plan your own adventures. Explore #yourlands.

Want to get involved in the fun? Follow and share #mypubliclandsroadtrip across social media, and add your own photos to the roadtrip through the weekly My Public Lands Instagram challenges!


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.


Our November #conservationlands15 Ends with the Top 15 Places to View Wildlife on the BLM’s National Conservation Lands!

1. Steese National Conservation Area, AK. The Steese NCA provides habitat for moose, dall sheep, grizzly bear, black bear, small game, raptors, waterfowl and numerous other species of small mammals and birds. Portions of the Steese NCA are used by the White Mountains and Fortymile caribou herds.

2. King Range National Conservation Area, CA. At the King Range NCA, offshore rocks, tidepools and kelp beds are inhabited by seals, sea lions and a variety of marine birds; California grey whales can be spotted offshore in winter and spring. 

3. Browns Canyon National Monument, CO. Browns Canyon NM visitors can spot iconic mammals such as Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, black bear, mountain lion and elk.  Fishermen enjoy Gold Medal Trout waters, with a consistent standing stock of 60 pounds per acre. 

4. Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area, FL. Despite its urban setting, the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse ONA is home to a wide array of wildlife, from osprey and snowy egret to bobcat to west Indian manatee.

5. Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area, ID. The deep canyon of the Snake River, with its crags and crevices and thermal updrafts, is home to the greatest concentration of nesting birds of prey in North America – and perhaps, the world.  Some 800 pairs of hawks, owls, eagles and falcons come each spring to mate and raise their young.

6. Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, MT. The Upper Missouri River Breaks NM contains a variety of wildlife habitat types, supporting 60 species of mammals, 233 species of birds, 20 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 49 species of fish. The river provides habitat for one of the six remaining paddlefish populations (and perhaps the largest) in the US, as well as the endangered pallid sturgeon and shovelnose sturgeon. 

7. Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, NM. The Río Grande del Norte NM is comprised of rugged, wide open plains  cut by steep canyons. Several species of bats make their home in the gorge, which also provides important nesting habitat for the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher. Large mammals find their winter homes on the plateau alongside a population of rare Gunnison’s prairie dogs. 

8. Black Rock High Rock Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area, Soldier Meadows Area of Critical Environmental Concern, NV. Soldier Meadows Area ACEC was designated to protect the desert dace, a threatened fish listed under the Endangered Species Act. The desert dace are only known to occur within the hot springs in the Soldier Meadows area and nowhere else in the world.

9. San Juan Islands National Monument, WA. The diverse habitats found on these islands provide a refuge for countless species of mammals, birds, and insects, including the island marbled butterfly, which was once thought to be extinct. 

10. Deep Creek Mountains Wilderness Study Area, UT. The Deep Creek Mountains WSA provides crucial habitat for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mule deer, elk and pronghorn. Found in several streams in the Deep Creek Mountains is a rare insect, the giant stonefly, which is only found elsewhere in watercourses flowing to the Pacific Ocean. 

11. Ferris Mountain Wilderness Study Area, WY. The Ferris Mountain WSA is known for ecological diversity along with outstanding geological and recreational characteristics. Pine marten, blue grouse, and snowshoe hare take up residence in some of the patches of old growth forest.  

12. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, OR.  Harbor seals are often on the coastal rocks and can be seen caring for their pups in spring. During winter and spring, the area offers outstanding whale watching opportunities. 

13. Paria Canyon Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, AZ. The remote and unspoiled, 280,000-acre Vermilion Cliffs NM offers opportunities to view endangered California condors.

14. San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, AZ. The San Pedro Riparian NCA contains a Globally Important Bird Area which attracts thousands of birdwatchers from all over the world each year.

15. Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, OR. The Cascade-Siskiyou NM is the first national monument in the United States set aside solely to protect biodiversity. 

Thanks for following this month’s #conservationlands15 takeover. Join us next month for movie locations on National Conservation Lands.

Not much better than a starry night and sunrise together over a beautiful Idaho landscape!

This morning, BLMer Bob Wick shared this shot with the following note: “Caught this at 4:30 AM at Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area, just as the moon was setting and right before dawn started breaking.”


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.


Celebrate National #TakeAHikeDay by Exploring Your Public Lands!

Visitors enjoy countless types of outdoor adventure – not just hiking – on the approximately 250 million acres of BLM-managed public lands in the United States.

In an increasingly urbanized West, these recreational opportunities in beautiful natural landscapes are vital to the quality of life enjoyed by residents of western states, as well as national and international visitors.

Photos by BLMer Bob Wick.


Trivia Tuesday!

#DYK – The Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area in Idaho supports the highest concentration of nesting birds of prey in North America, if not the world.

Springtime in southwestern Idaho welcomes the return of more than 800 pairs of eagles, falcons, hawks and owls to their nest sites in this conservation area - a part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands. In April and May, join BLM-guided day hikes in the beautiful Snake River Canyon and learn about the area’s geology, plants and raptors. Plan your trip:

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM


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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#BlackFriday? No thanks, #GetOutFriday and #OptOutside instead!

Federal lands and waters are a bargain on any day! Thanksgiving is full of food and fun. Fill Black Friday with fresh air and the great outdoors. You will be thankful you did!