Good morning

BLMer Bob Wick shared these supermoon-eclipse shots from yesterday evening at Berryessa-Snow Mountain National Monument in California. The trees in the foreground are blue-oak woodlands which are iconic in this Monument. 

Thanks for sharing, Bob!



Once again, we celebrate May 4th or Star Wars Day with photos from Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area in California. For years, Star Wars enthusiasts have ventured to the BLM’s Imperial Sand Dunes to visit the filming location of the opening scenes of Return of the Jedi.  The Imperial Sand Dunes are the largest dune mass in California.  Formed by windblown sands of ancient Lake Cahuilla, the dunes create an out-of-this-world landscape ideal for Hollywood film backdrops and are known as an off-roading mecca.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Imperial Sand Dunes.


Happy World Wildlife Day!

We celebrate wildlife today and every day on our nation’s public lands. More than 3,000 species of wildlife call BLM-managed lands home - that’s a backyard of more than 245 million acres in 23 states, dispersed over ecologically-diverse and essential habitat.

Enjoy a few of our favorite wildlife photos from your public lands!



After a wonderful National Public Lands Day weekend, we would like to thank the many volunteers who joined in our efforts to help take care of America’s public lands nationwide. 

Now go enjoy your public lands! Here are some of our favorite fall foliage photos across BLM managed lands. 


The Whipple Mountains Wilderness - a part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands - has the only stand of saguaro cactus in California. Although they are abundant in Arizona’s part of the Sonoran Desert, saguaro cactus don’t occur on the California side of the Colorado River except in this one spot.

By Bob Wick, BLM


Add a river adventure to your bucketlist! The Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River has its headwaters in the White Mountains, approximately 50 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska. The river flows west past the jagged limestone ridges of the White Mountains before flowing to the north and east, where it enters the Yukon Flats and joins the Yukon River.

The river’s clear water, modest Class I rapids, and unparalleled scenery make for a relaxing trip. Floating Beaver Creek can take from seven days to three weeks to complete, For shorter trips, arrangements can be made with an air taxi for a gravel bar pick-up near Victoria Creek. Others continue for several more weeks onto the Yukon River and take out at the bridge on the Dalton Highway. This 360-mile trip has been called the longest road-to-road float in North America.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM


Located on the Colorado Plateau in northern Arizona, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is a geologic treasure. This remote and unspoiled monument contains 280,000 acres of diverse landscapes – including the colorful swirling stone of the Wave (shown here) – making it an international hiking destination. For those who don’t get a permit to the Wave, White Pocket in Vermilion Cliffs has similar geologic features and is worth the visit!

New photos by Bob Wick, BLM


#mypubliclandsroadtrip Recap in BLM California!

The summer roadtrip in BLM California covered it all - from desert to forest to coast. We featured conservation efforts, amazing coastal wildlife, and endless recreation opportunities. Our favorite roadtrip stop in California - King Range National Conservation Area, the Lost Coast. You just can’t find a bad view!  

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM. Check out all California roadtrip photos on My Public Lands Flickr, and view the storymap roadtrip journal!


Happy #ArborDay– let’s celebrate the importance of trees!

Arbor Day is an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care.  The first holiday observance of Arbor Day was in 1872, when more than one million trees were planted in Nebraska. Much like the first celebration of Arbor Day, trees planted on Arbor Day today are done for the benefit of future generations. The simple act of planting a tree represents a belief that the tree will grow and, some day, provide wood products, wildlife habitat, erosion control, shelter from the wind and sun, beauty, and inspiration for ourselves and our children.

Plant a tree today and enjoy what trees on your public lands have to offer!

Ending the weekend with a starry night sky over the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area in Oregon - the first feature location in our BLM Winter Bucket List Series, launched today.

CLICK HERE to view the first bucket list post.


#TravelTuesday with Guest Photographer Bob Wick to Northern Arizona’s Vermilion Cliffs! 

Some of my favorite photo locations are in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, located in northern Arizona along the Utah border. The area contains colorful sculpted rock formations that are beyond description.  Most famous is “The Wave” which has a very limited number of entry permits issued through a lottery to protect its unique and fragile features.  However, South Coyote Buttes (permit required) and the White Pocket (no permit needed) offer equally spectacular and unique formations.  The area offers year-round photo opportunities, although winter access to remote locations may be blocked by snow, and back roads become impassible when wet at any time of year. Summer visitors should bring plenty of water and plan outings to avoid the unrelenting mid-day sun. 

Photo tip: The many slickrock basins hold water at certain times and provide for great reflections of the adjoining formations. To capture water reflections, photograph in early morning and late evening when glare is lower and the water is more likely to be calm.  Optimally the sun should be shining on the subject that is being reflected.  Interesting skies with textured clouds also make excellent reflection subjects.

The Vermilion Cliffs themselves form a dramatic rampart in the southern part of the monument and offer endless photo angles. Make sure to stop at the California condor release site, just two miles up House Rock Road from the main highway. The majestic condors are visible year-round at the site which is used to reintroduce them into the wild. A very long telephoto lens is needed to get good photos of the condors.

Photo tip: The “golden hour”, such as the time close to sunrise and sunset, almost always offers the best light for photography and this is especially true in the Vermilion Cliffs and other areas of the Colorado Plateau. Here the rock colors come alive with vibrant reds, oranges and golds with low sun angles, but become washed out during the mid-day.  Photographing with sidelight (camera pointed 90 degrees from the sun) will ensure that you have more texture and three dimensional qualities to your images.

Check out our @esri Vermilion Cliffs National Monument multimedia storymap for more stunning photos, videos, helpful links and maps of the area:



On this day in history - March 30, 2009 - President Barack Obama signed into law the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009. Among other things, the Act established a National Landscape Conservation System, which includes Bureau of Land Management-administered National Monuments, National Conservation Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, National Conservation Areas as well as components of the National Trails System, National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and National Wilderness Preservation System.

The mission of the National Conservation Lands is to conserve, protect, and restore these nationally significant landscapes that are recognized for their outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values. National Conservation Lands are part of an active, vibrant landscape where people live, work and play. They offer exceptional opportunities for recreation, solitude, wildlife viewing, exploring history, scientific research, and a wide range of traditional uses.

The National Conservation Lands sustain for the future - and for everyone - these remarkable landscapes of the American spirit. As a part of the 15th anniversary celebration this year, our National Conservation Lands team will take over BLM’s national social media accounts on the 15th of each month. Follow each takeover using #conservationlands15. 


The 12 Days of National Conservation Lands Ends with the Top 15 Places on National Conservation Lands for Night Sky Viewing.

The stars really do come out at night on BLM’s National Conservation Lands – and lots of them! Far from city lights, these landscapes offer some of the most outstanding viewing opportunities anywhere.  Plan your 2016 trip to these locations with our interactive maps:


1. Steese National Conservation Area: Drive out the Steese Highway for some of the best northern lights viewing anywhere.   Don’t expect to see this amazing light show in summer – the midnight sun makes the sky too bright!


2. Just beyond the glow of the City lights of Phoenix, the Sonoran Desert National Monument offers great dark skies to the south,  where the milky arcs across the sky.

3. The high elevations near Mount Trumbell and Mount Logan offer expansive vistas in the Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument whose outstanding night sky viewing opportunities have resulted in its “International Night Sky Province” designation.


4. Several Wilderness Study Areas in the Eastern Sierra, including Slinkard (on Monitor Pass) and the Bodie Hills (near Bridgeport), are a world apart from California’s urban coastal areas and contain some of the darkest skies in the golden state.

5. California Coastal National Monument: Although clear skies are difficult to predict along the fogbound coast, the Big Sur, Mendocino Coast and King Range Coast are all far from city lights so you can see stars over the ocean.


6. Canyons of the Ancients National Monument: Its easy to contemplate how “the ancient ones” studied the stars in this vast desert landscape near the four corners. Contact the Anasazi Heritage Center for ideas on camping/viewing locations.  

7. Alpine Loop: This BLM backcountry byway runs near the Uncompagre Wilderness and both Handies Peak and Redcloud Peak Wilderness Study Areas.  The thin air at 11,000 feet seems to make the stars here appear extra crisp.


8. Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area: Just a stone’s throw from Boise, this area is truly on the edge of civilization. Overlooks along the north rim of the Snake River Canyon offer great viewing of the dark skies to the south.


9. Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument and Wild and Scenic River: Nothing is more relaxing than floating down a river and sleeping under the stars here in Big Sky Country at night.


10. Black Rock Desert High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trail National Conservation Area: Just avoid the last week of August when Burning Man lights up the playa, and you’ll be treated to some of the darkest skies in the U.S.

New Mexico

11. Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument and Wild and Scenic River: Vast volcanic tablelands above the narrow gorge of the river and crisp high elevation rocky mountain skies offer excellent viewing opportunities.


12. Steens Mountain Wilderness: Southeast Oregon’s highest peak offers hiking, camping and a scenic drive to the high elevation viewing areas.  


13. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument:  From spectacular Grand Staircase of cliffs and terraces to the wonders of the Escalante River canyons, the monument offers nearly 1.9 million acres to starwatch and explore.


14. Juniper Dunes Wilderness: Enjoy the open skies and rolling dunes here in the southeast part of the state.


15. South Pass – California-Oregon-Pony Express and Mormon Emigrant Trails: Its easy to imagine the feeling of vastness that the emigrants found here in the mid-1800s as they rested under the stars before hitching up the oxen to continue their arduous trek.  

Thank you for following the #conservationlands2015 celebration of the 15th anniversary of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands this year. Enjoy your public lands in 2016 with new printable monthly calendars, available on our My Public Lands Flickr:


It might be time to plan your trip to Stevens Trail on the North Fork of the American Wild and Scenic River.

The wildflowers were peaking this weekend and lots of people were out. It’s hard to believe that such a wild place is less than an hour from Sacramento. 

- BLMer and photographer Bob Wick   

Stevens Trail is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The trail is a popular year-round hiking trail in the lower elevations of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Historically, the trail connected the town of Iowa Hill with the city of Colfax, both in Placer County, California. The current trail extends 4.5 miles along the northwestern slope of the North Fork of the American River Canyon.  


Happy Mother’s Day from King Range National Conservation Area in California!

“Flowers for Mother’s Day…Here’s to all the beautiful, wonderful and lovely mothers that care for us and help us to grow.”

Photos and post by Justin R. Robbins, BLM California


Located on the Colorado Plateau in northern Arizona, the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona 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. Paria Canyon offers an outstanding three to five day wilderness backpacking experience. 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. Visit the BLM Arizona’s website to learn more about this beautiful area and plan your visit.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM Wilderness Specialist