Explore the Upper Missouri with #mypubliclandsroadtrip this weekend for solitude and stunning scenery!

The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana spans 149 miles of the Upper Missouri River, the adjacent Breaks country, and portions of Arrow Creek, Antelope Creek and the Judith Rivers. The monument includes six wilderness study areas, the Cow Creek Area of Critical Environmental Concern, segments of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and the Nez Perce National Historic Trail, the Fort Benton National Historic Landmark, a watchable wildlife area and the Missouri Breaks Back Country Byway. In 1976, Congress designated the Missouri River segment and corridor in this area a National Wild and Scenic River.

The area has remained largely unchanged in the nearly 200 years since Meriwether Lewis and William Clark traveled through it on their epic journey. Within the monument, you can float the river, fish, hike, hunt, drive for pleasure – or simply find a little solitude and enjoy a sense of exploration in this beautiful natural setting.

Photos by Alyse Backus and Bob Wick, BLM


Public Lands/ Exploration/ Night Sky/ 

Searching for a meteor burst last night in the Bald Hills above Redwood creek in Redwood National Park.  

I had visions of a Meteor burst behind this fire tower, if you zoom in a few images have a faint line or two, but overall every time I would place and focus the lens the meteors would then show up in a different part of the sky.

*note on editing:
I find it difficult to edit night photos. It’s a tough call between taking all of the amazing colors the long exposure captures, and trying to portray the scene more closely to the way I experienced it. I always find that to my eyes it looks more silvery blue, but the camera often finds many colors. Last nights photos out of camera had amazing greens, purple and blue which to people viewing the photos might be more interesting. But that’s not how it felt to be there alone in the dark walking in starlight.  Maybe I’ll share an alternate edit at another time.


#BLMWild Notes from the Field: Upper Snake region, Idaho

A great group of folks joined Greater Yellowstone Coalition’s Janna Coulter and Idaho Fish and Game’s (IDFG) Rob Cavallaro to learn about wildlife habitat on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands east of Victor, Idaho earlier this month. The group hiked a gorgeous route and discussed opportunities to submit public comments on the Upper Snake BLM’s travel planning effort. Many thanks to all who attended!


1) Attendees listen to IDFG’s Rob Cavallaro while hiking on BLM lands east of Victor, Idaho.

2) IDFG’s Rob Cavallaro points out where a front grizzly claw slipped above his hand and the smaller hind-foot prints marked below his hand on this Aspen tree on BLM land east of Victor, Idaho.

3) Hike attendee Shelly Newton studies the Woodland Pinedrops (Pterospora andromedea), a plant that does not conduct photosynthesis.


The Perseid Meteor Shower didn’t disappoint last night in Utah’s Valley of the Gods, where 500+ foot rock spires offered a great foreground.  BLMer Bob Wick took the starry photo of the area last night and the day shots earlier in the week. A scenic loop tour travels through the spectacular sandstone formations – accessible to a passenger car in dry conditions.  #weekendinspiration


#weekendinspiration from Road Canyon Wilderness in Utah

Road Canyon Wilderness Study Area contains 52,000 acres of spectacular mesas and canyons in Southeast Utah. The remote canyons are popular for backpacking and canyoneering.  A major attraction for visitors are the many sites left behind by the ancestral pueblo people who lived here almost 1,000 years ago. The area is most popular in spring and fall, as the canyon rock reflects the intense summer heat.  A must for the #bucketlist!

New photos by Bob Wick, BLM


The Southern Bighorn Mountains offer diverse wildlife watching away from the crowds if you’re venturing out into Western Wyoming’s National Parks. You may see pronghorn and mule deer, numerous birds of prey, marmots and foxes, and many other creatures large and small!

Check out the following stops on a Southern Bighorns #mypubliclandsroadtrip.

Middle Fork of the Powder River Recreation Area

The Gardner Mountain, Outlaw Cave and Hole-in-the-Wall Trails

And the Buffalo Creek or Grave Springs Campgrounds

Southern Bighorns Photo by Jim Verplanke


#traveltuesday – beautiful new shots from Moab taken last weekend by BLMer Bob Wick.

Corona Arch in Utah is a free standing arch with a 140 by 105 foot opening. Corona and adjoining Bowtie Arch are a popular hike located just 20 minutes from Moab.  The 1.5 mile trail climbs 400 feet. Note that there are two short stretches of steeper slick rock, but cables and footholds are provided.

The Highway 128 corridor follows the Colorado River corridor through slick rock canyons east of Moab. The area is a recreation mecca with a paved bike trail (western part of the corridor), numerous campgrounds, trails, and flatwater boating opportunities. About 30 miles east of Moab, the canyon opens up into Castle Valley with its numerous spectacular rock formations – including Fisher Towers. The towers are renowned as photo subjects and  also provide for challenging rock climbs.  The BLM provides a picnic site at the base of the towers and a 2.2 mile trail offers close up views.  A definite bucket list location!


#mypubliclandsroadtrip stops at Pine Forest Range Wilderness in Northern Nevada for solitude and stargazing.  

The area is an island in the sky rising almost 6,000 feet above the desert floor to peaks that top out at just below 10,000 feet.  The range has been glaciated, and has several cirque lakes which are very uncommon in the Great Basin.  The 4WD access route travels through huge patches of aspen interspersed with meadows. Whitebark and Limber Pine cover the peaks giving the area its name. This part of Nevada is as dark as anywhere in the continental U.S. so the Milky Way is very visible.

Photos by Bob Wick and Rita Ayers, BLM


The Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico is comprised of rugged, wide open plains at an average elevation of 7,000 feet, dotted by volcanic cones.  The Río Grande carves an 800 foot deep gorge through layers of volcanic basalt flows and ash. The monument is an important area for wintering animals, and provides a corridor by which wildlife move between the mountain ranges.

CLICK HERE to learn more about this amazing #mypubliclandsroadtrip stop.


#mypubliclandsroadtrip kicks off the weekend at the Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness Study Area in northwestern New Mexico.

Ah-shi-sle-pah is a badland area of rolling water-carved clay hills. The area is rich in fossils and has little vegetation to conceal geological formations. The thin vegetation includes sagebrush, piñon-juniper, Great Basin scrubland, and grassland. It is a landscape of sandstone cap rocks and scenic olive-colored hills. Water in this area is scarce and there are no trails; however, the area is scenic and contains soft colors rarely seen elsewhere.

Add this to your bucketlist for beauty and solitude!

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM


Want solitude on your #mypublicandsroadtrip?

How about southeast Washington sand dunes, old growth juniper trees and a beautiful sunrise…or sunset!

Congress designated the Juniper Dunes Wilderness in 1984, and it now has a total of 6,869 acres. The wilderness preserves the northernmost growth of western juniper, some of which have been around for 150 years, along with windswept sand dunes measuring 130 feet in height and 1,000 feet in width.

Other than junipers, no trees grow in significant numbers here, but many bushes and flowers bloom wondrously come spring, although the mountains that separate western and eastern Washington generally wring the moisture from the air.

The landscape here takes quite a battering, in fact, with strong southwest winds to build the dunes, 7 to 8 inches of precipitation to moisten them, a foot or so of snow that drifts down in winter, and summer temperatures that occasionally rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Elevations range from 750 feet to 1,130 feet above sea level. Plenty of animals thrive despite the extremes: from mule deer, bobcats and coyotes to porcupines and kangaroo rats to beautiful hawks, owls, quail and pheasants.


#mypubliclandsroadtrip explores the beautiful towering cliffs and deep canyons of the 280,000 acre Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona. The remote and unspoiled monument offers opportunities to view endangered California condors. Photos by Bob Wick, BLM.

Check out the condor release video from the National Public Lands Day celebration, held each September, at the monument.


Each November through February, a migrating population of bald eagles visits the Lake Coeur d’ Alene area in Idaho to feed on spawning kokanee salmon. The BLM began counting the eagles in 1974, and now hosts annual eagle counts for site visitors. Learn more:


Looking for some space? How about 218,000 acres of wilderness spanning across two Western states for your #mypubliclandsroadtrip?

That is exactly what the Hells Canyon Wilderness offers in northeast Oregon and western Idaho. Much of the area is split by the Wild and Scenic Snake River, too.

On the Oregon side, the higher elevation areas are characteristic of rocky slopes and grasslands laced with ‘stringer canyons’ and groves composed of Douglas fir and ponderosa pine. The lower elevations are dominated by grassland benches with steep canyons and ravines dissecting the isolated Oregon-side.

Two National trails are found at various elevations: Western Rim/Summit Ridge Recreation Trail at the upper elevation; and the Nez Perce National Historic Trail near the Snake River. And the wilderness is known to be home to Rocky Mountain elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer and chukar.

The wilderness is so big, it is jointly managed with the U.S. Forest Service. Recently, the Wallowa Whitman National Forest obtained BLM wild horses from Nevada that were trained to be pack animals in the rugged wilderness area! Read more about that partnership effort


#mypubliclandsroadtrip stops by the Cosumnes River Preserve, home to California’s largest remaining valley oak riparian forest and one of the few protected wetland habitat areas in the state.

Nestled in the heart of California’s Central Valley, the 46,000 acres preserve is a critical stop on the Pacific Flyway for migrating and wintering waterfowl. Over 250 species of birds have been sighted on or near the preserve, including the State-listed threatened Swainson hawk, greater and lesser sandhill cranes, Canada geese and numerous ducks. 

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

External image


Welcome to #mypubliclandsroadtrip 2016, Week 10 – Get Outdoors Baby!

Last week, #mypubliclandsroadtrip featured great places for watching wildlife, from California condors to sea lions to elk and moose.  Check out our new @Stellerstories book that recaps Week 9 of the roadtrip.

From August 17-21, #mypubliclandsroadtrip features a few of our favorite family-friendly places on America’s public lands. Follow along all week as we add new places to the #mypubliclandsroadtrip 2016 map and new Get Outdoors Baby journal.


The Encampment River Area in Wyoming offers recreation opportunities for the entire family – from camping and hiking to horseback riding to fishing and floating. You may even spot mule deer, elk and bighorn sheep during your trip.

Stay at one of the eight developed campsites and then explore this beautiful area.  The campground provides access to the Encampment River Trail which parallels the Encampment River along its entire length – from the campground through the Encampment River Canyon Wilderness Study Area into the Medicine Bow National Forest. The Encampment River Canyon WSA consists of 4,547 acres of undeveloped lands that have retained their natural conditions; the Encampment River Trail is closed to motorized use.

The Encampment River Canyon WSA is characterized by deep canyons and high rocky ridges where the remnants of historic prospecting and mining activity can still be found with two old cabins, numerous prospect pits, tunnels and a wooden pipeline.

It’s a perfect #mypubliclandsroadtrip that mixes nature, history and great family fun.  (BLM Wyoming photos)