san juan islands national monument


The December #conservationlands15 Social Media Takeover Ends with the Top 15 Film Locations on National Conservation Lands.

1. Pacific Crest Trail, CA-OR. Wild (2014) chronicles Cheryl Strayed’s (Reese Witherspoon) 1,000 mile journey on the trail that challenges, strengthens and ultimately heals her. The 2,650 mile trail includes segments on BLM lands in California and Oregon.

2. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, OR. In The Ring (2002), the lighthouse takes on an eerie glow for scenes from this supernatural horror flick starring Naomi Watts.  

3. Paria Canyon Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, AZ. The deep canyons, tall cliffs and pinon covered uplands were backdrops for scenes from Billy the Kid (1941) and later the Outlaw Josie Wales with Clint Eastwood (1976).

4. Unaweep Canyon Wilderness Study Area, CO. Follow Thelma and Louise – the famous roadtrip duo– along a scenic byway backed by several Wilderness Study Areas (Sewemup Mesa and Palisade) with towering cliffs.

5. Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument, NM. Terminator Salvation (2009), Natural Born Killers (1994) and Wild Hogs (2007) are among the films that used the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge to film dramatic scenes above the canyon and churning river almost 600 feet below.

6. Fort Ord National Monument, CA. The Bugle Sounds (1942) stars Wallace Beery as a cavalry sergeant reluctant to replacing horses with modern equipment.

7. The San Juan Islands National Monument, WA. The film location for Free Willy II (1992) included the islands and surrounding rocks and islets of this national monument.

8. Rogue Wild and Scenic River, OR. Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon floated the river during the River Wild (1994), preceded by John Wayne and Katherine Hepburn who were filmed on the river in the 1975 film Rooster Cogburn.

9. Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, UT.  The Pariah townsite in the southern part of the monument included a movie set which was built in the early 1960s for Sergeants Three, a Western featuring Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. It also provided settings for the television series Death Valley Days and Gunsmoke. The last movie filmed there was The Outlaw Josie Wales in 1976.

10. California Coastal National Monument Point Arena, CA. This spectacular coastal landscape capped by California’s tallest lighthouse provided a dramatic setting for the ending scenes of Forever Young starring Mel Gibson (1992) and Need for Speed (2014).

11. Valley of the Gods and Road Canyon Wilderness Study Area, UT. This iconic red-rock landscape was the backdrop for Forrest Gump (1994) when Forrest, played by Tom Hanks, ended his cross-country run.

12. Red Rock National Conservation Area, NV.  Red Rocks featured Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger in Bells of San Angelo (1947) and was a location for The Stalking Moon with Gregory Peck in 1968.

13. Organ Mountains National Monument, NM. In Due Date (2009) with Robert Downey, Jr.,  the Organ Mountains were used extensively as a backdrop for the movie, once being cited in the film as mountains in Dallas, Texas, which is actually quite flat!

14. Saint Anthony’s Dunes Wilderness Study Area, ID.  Although Napoleon Dynamite (2004) was not actually filmed here, St. Anthony’s gets a prominent mention when Napoleon’s grandma breaks her coccyx riding a bike in the dunes and leaves him in the care of his uncle.  A proclamation by the Idaho State Legislature commending the movie’s portrayal of the state calls out Saint Anthony’s as a “long honored Idaho vacation destination”

15. Blackfoot River, Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, MT. Flowing just east of Missoula Montana, the Blackfoot was made famous by Norman Macleans novel “A River Runs Through It” and a movie of the same name starring Brad Pitt (1992). Filming was conducted on several other river segments, as fishing on the Blackfoot had declined since the Macleans fished there.  However, the movie sparked a restoration effort and the Blackfoot is once again a popular flyfishing destination.

Thanks for following the #conservationlands15 posts all year.  Check back on Dec. 20th for the 12 Days of National Conservation Lands, an end-of-year recap of our monthly Top 15 posts!


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.


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.


Here’s a little #MondayMotivation, enjoy these rocky western coastlines and soak up some winter sun!


Good morning from @AmericanHiking’s My Public Lands Instagram takeover at BLM’s San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington.

“The sun rises over its archipelago of over 450 islands, rocks, and pinnacles - approximately 1,000 acres of land spread across the many rocks and islands. Drawing visitors from around the world, this is a landscape of unmatched contrasts, where forests seem to spring from gray rock and distant, snow-capped peaks provide the backdrop for sandy beaches.

At the end of June, a group of 12 American Hiking volunteers will take to the trails at San Juan Islands National Monument to perform trail maintenance, eradicate noxious weeds that are harmful to the natural environment, and maintain heavily used public recreation sites.  Volunteer Vacationers have been helping to maintain this area on various trips throughout the park for the past couple of years and look forward to providing service to the area in the future as well keeping the trails open and accessible for all hikers.”

Photo by Stephen Baker, BLM Oregon/Washington


BLM Presents Making a Difference National Volunteer Awards

On June 2, 2016, the Bureau of Land Management presented its “Making a Difference” National Volunteer Awards for outstanding volunteer service in 2015 on BLM-managed lands. The annual award recognizes exceptional volunteers who have contributed thousands of hours to their public lands, from improving fish habitat to finding homes for wild horses and burros to providing environmental education. In 2015, BLM volunteers contributed more than 1 million hours, equating to more than $24 million of service and 577 work years. 

The volunteers selected for this year’s awards include:

Bill Mackie (Outstanding Achievement), Arizona;
Sharron Evans (Outstanding Achievement), Utah;
Danny and Barbara Frye (Outstanding Achievement), Montana;
Asha Lela (Lifetime Achievement), Washington;
Jack and Sandy Gasser (Lifetime Achievement), Arizona;
Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve (Group Excellence), California;
Lesly Smith (Employee Winner), Wyoming; and
Shanita McLean (Outstanding Youth), Virginia.

Learn more about the award winners on our national Flickr site.