#mypubliclandsroadtrip Recap – BLM Eastern States

This week, we’re featuring the most popular locations and resources from our virtual summer road trip to BLM-managed public lands across the country.  

We kicked off the #mypubliclandsroadtrip in June with BLM Eastern States - basically, the 31 states east of the Mississippi.  We met scientists with bats and baby woodpeckers, and had some time behind-the-scenes with the Jackson Hotshot crew. But you just can’t beat cute beach critters and beautiful sunsets along the coast.

Check out all BLM Eastern States photos on My Public Lands Flickr, or view the BLM Eastern States storymap journal!

#ITSTARTSWITHASEED: BLM Botanist Plants New Tree of Knowledge at Little Big Horn College

Story and photos by Brad Purdy, BLM Montana/ Dakotas 

Sitting along a small tree line, about ten students gather to learn what a botanist’s life is like in the field. BLM Montana/Dakota Botanist Wendy Velman closely examines a sample and explains the painstaking process of properly identifying and cataloging plants.

Not only will this be the first sample collection for many of these students, it also is the very first time any student at the Crow Reservation’s Little Big Horn College has collected samples that will stay with the school.

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Tumblr for Feds: Gifs, Memes, and More | DigitalGov

We’ll be presenting at DigitalGov’s “Tumblr for Feds” Webinar this morning, along with our colleagues & friends from usagov, stopbullying & mypubliclands!

Whether you’ve been waiting for a while to sign up with Tumblr or whether you’re just curious how government agencies can leverage a platform known to be the breeding ground for the latest gifs and memes, this webinar will show you examples of how agencies have successfully taken advantage of gifs, memes and everything else Tumblr has to offer to meet their missions, increase audience engagement and build brand recognition.

February 19 @ 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Update 2/26/2014: In case you missed it, Digital Gov University recorded the webinar, and we’ve shared it here: Two for Tumblr Tuesday: Tumblr for Feds: Gifs, Memes, and More

President Obama’s visit to urban and rural Alaska this week will focus on climate change.  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Alaska will deal with the implications of climate change in their active land use planning efforts. The BLM Anchorage Field Office’s vision for the Bering Sea-Western Interior Resource Management Plan is to “sustain diverse and intact ecosystems that support traditional subsistence lifestyles while recognizing the importance of BLM lands to rural communities.” 

Permafrost is currently found in most of Alaska.  As the above graphic shows, that won’t be the case in the future.  How do we “sustain diverse and intact ecosystems” when there are significant climate changes occurring on the landscape?

Graphic from the National Park Service’s “Climate Change in Alaska’s National Park Areas – State of Change” report.


BLM Winter Bucket List #23: Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona, for Spectacular Geologic Features and Superbowl 49

This month, Phoenix, Arizona, is a buzz with #superbowl news.  As the state prepares for the big event, we’ll share information about beautiful public lands just outside of the city and others worth a day trip - like Vermilion Cliffs.

Located on the Colorado Plateau in northern Arizona, the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument includes the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. This remote and unspoiled 280,000-acre Monument - a part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands - is a geologic treasure, containing a variety of diverse landscapes from the Paria Plateau, Vermilion Cliffs, Coyote Buttes, and Paria Canyon. 

Visitors enjoy scenic views of towering cliffs and deep canyons. The colorful swirls of cross-bedded sandstone in Coyote Buttes are an international hiking destination.  A permit is required for hiking in Coyote Buttes North (the Wave), Coyote Buttes South, and for overnight trips within Paria Canyon. 

Whether you’re heading to the #superbowl or just want an unforgettable outdoor experience, Vermilion Cliffs is a must see!

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM Wilderness Specialist

The following except was taken from an article in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel on August 21, 2015:

A document that will guide the management of more than 1 million acres in western Colorado for 20-plus years is now complete, setting the stage for a possible new round of battles.

The Bureau of Land Management  issued its record of decision Friday for the resource management plan for the Grand Junction Field Office, which has been embroiled in controversy over the handling of travel routes and the treatment of lands with wilderness characteristics….

…The final plan did too little to set aside lands with wilderness characteristics, said Ken Rait, director of the U.S. Public Lands Program for the Pew Trusts, noting that citizen inventories identified 465,000 acres of lands with wilderness characteristics.

Areas such as the South Shale Ridge, Little Bookcliffs, Prairie Canyon, and Granite Creek were largely ignored, according to the Pew Trust’s Western Lands Initiative.

“The Grand Junction plan falls short on providing a balanced plan for conservation values, such as wilderness, quiet recreation, and wildlife.

While BLM commits to maintaining an ongoing inventory of lands with wilderness characteristics, we believe this should have been done as part of the planning process itself to allow for the most informed management going forward,” Rait said.

Photo: South Shale Ridge, near Grand Junction, is made up of geological formations that twist through miles of canyons; it is home to bald eagles and big game. Credit Scott Braden.
Some of Colorado’s wildest places may still be at risk
Hundreds of thousands of acres of wilderness quality lands in northwest Colorado are not being protected under new management plans for the region.

Post by Juli Slivka, The Wilderness Society

While one northwest Colorado plan does not do enough to protect wildlands, a neighboring management plan highlights how the agency can adopt new practices to protect and preserve wild areas.

Recently the Bureau of Land Management rolled out final decisions for two Colorado land use plans– Grand Junction and White River– bringing the total to five final land use plans adopted by the agency in Colorado this year. The plans have changed little since they were released as draft plans this spring, and we noted at that time the stark contrast between the approaches to conserving wild public lands.

The Grand Junction and White River plans span 2.5 million acres of public land in Colorado and will guide management decisions for those lands for many years to come. Yet the plans being adopted by the BLM’s field offices could not be more different in how the agency will manage wildlands while guiding energy development to more suitable locations in the region. The White River plan appears to embrace modern management tools to better balance the many use of our public lands but the Grand Junction plan fails to do that.

The White River plan, which is focused on oil and gas development across the planning area, identifies more than 300,000 acres of lands with wilderness characteristics - nearly 140,000 acres of which will be managed to protect those wild qualities, and placing limits on the rest to protect against any unnecessary degradation. The White River plan also finalizes a Master Leasing Plan for the public lands south of Dinosaur National Monument. The Master Leasing Plan includes significant resource protection measures, including a phased leasing approach and restricting development in wilderness-quality lands to ensure that oil and gas drilling is balanced with other multiple uses.

The Grand Junction plan, on the other hand, failed to acknowledge hundreds of thousands of acres of lands with wilderness characteristics identified, and supported for protection, by The Wilderness Society and the public. There was some good news in that the final decision for the Grand Junction region took steps to remedy this problem by recognizing the agency must continue working to identify and consider wilderness-quality lands. However, the management plan was the best opportunity for lands with wilderness characteristics to be considered for protective management, and we now face an uphill battle in ensuring these important wildlands are not lost to oil and gas development and off-road vehicle use.

We are encouraged and inspired by the unprecedented public engagement in these land use plans, an effort that influenced the BLM to employ new planning tools to craft more balanced management plans for Colorado’s public lands. Tools such as Master Leasing Plans and identification of lands with wilderness characteristics help the BLM adopt modern management approaches and demonstrate a commitment to conservation. We still have work to do for our public wildlands, but we are moving on the right path.

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