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On this day in 2001, Carrizo Plain (CA), Sonoran Desert (AZ), Pompeys Pillar (MT), Upper Missouri River Breaks (MT) and Kasha-Katuwe (NM) National Monuments were designated by Presidential Proclamation.

Pictured here, the #milkyway over North Maricopa Wilderness in the Sonoran Desert National Monument, a part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands.

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Kicking off the weekend with the John Day River in Oregon – one of our nation’s longest free-flowing river systems. Designated under the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the Oregon Scenic Waterways Act, the area provides amazing recreation opportunities, from boating and fishing to camping and horseback riding.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

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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!

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Join #mypubliclandsroadtrip Today at Headwaters Forest Reserve in California

Spectacular in its beauty, the Headwaters Forest Reserve is also a vital ally in conservation efforts to protect the most iconic forest species in the Pacific Northwest. Located 6 miles southeast of Eureka, California, these 7,542 acres of public lands feature magnificent stands of old-growth redwood trees that provide nesting habitat for the marbled murrelet (a small Pacific seabird) and the northern spotted owl. Both species are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, as are the coho salmon, chinook salmon, and steelhead trout that have important habitat in the reserve’s stream systems.

Joining forces, the federal government and the State of California acquired the land for the reserve in 1999 to protect these important resources. The historic value of a once busy mill town named Falk is also commemorated in interpretive signs along the Elk River Trail, which follows an old logging road to the now vanished community. The BLM partners with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to manage the Headwaters Forest Reserve as part of the National Conservation Lands.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

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The Continental Divide Wilderness Study Area in New Mexico offers amazing hiking, backpacking, camping, photography and solitude. The landmark of the area – the Pelona Mountain – rises to 9,212 feet. Rolling grassland gives way to steeper slopes covered in piñon pine woodland and ponderosa pine forest, although the summit of the mountain itself is mostly grassland. Climb the Pelona Mountain for views that stretch out for miles across the surrounding plains, or take a walk along the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail that passes through this stunning wilderness. A worthy addition to your roadtrip list, especially for the #sunset!

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM.

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It’s easy to see why Lower Calf Creek Falls is one of the most popular hikes in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah, designated 20 years ago today. The hike traverses a lush streamside oasis that bisects the dramatic and harsh bedrock landscape east of the community of Escalante. Observant hikers on the 6 mile round-trip trek can spot pictographs and rock granaries perched on the opposite canyon walls as they wind up the cottonwood lined canyon. The hike is relatively level, but stretches of soft sand make it moderately strenuous.  

At the end, the reward is a picture-perfect 126 foot cascade over a red-rock cliff. The green and yellow colors that line the contours of the column of water came from algae growing on the sandstone that thrive on the falls’ year-round flow.  A must for your bucketlist!

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Visit one of Oregon’s most beautiful rivers! Renowned for outstanding salmon and steelhead fishing and whitewater challenges, the North Umpqua River offers the perfect place for a weekend getaway. Almost 34 miles of the North Umpqua have been designated as a Wild and Scenic River and this section has been set aside exclusively for fly-fishing. The North Umpqua Trail parallels the river and offers challenging hiking and mountain biking experiences.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

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#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: mypubliclands.tumblr.com/traveltuesdayarizonavermilioncliffs.

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It doesn’t get prettier than fall in Idaho, especially the Aspen and Cottonwood trees along the South Fork of the Snake River. This river corridor is praised for its trout-fishing opportunities, but we think the scenery is equally amazing.

Photos courtesy of Austin Catlin, BLM; description by Sarah Wheeler, BLM Idaho and Tumblr blogger

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We continue our weekend celebration of National Scenic and Historic Trails and National Wild and Scenic Rivers with fall foliage along the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.  

The BLM manages a section of the Continental Divide Trail in Montana, with a majority located within the Centennial Mountains Wilderness Study Area.  A part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands, the Centennial Mountains WSA contains some of the most wild and biologically important lands in southwest Montana. Backcountry hiking, equestrian, hunting and fishing are popular along this segment of the trail. During the winter months, you can experience exceptional backcountry skiing opportunities and endless views.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

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Thanks for following the #mypubliclandsroadtrip in BLM New Mexico!

View the BLM New Mexico roadtrip journal-storymap here: http://mypubliclands.tumblr.com/roadtripnewmexico.

Next week, the roadtrip stops in BLM Montana/ Dakotas for badlands, national monuments, ringing rocks, ghost towns, and more.

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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!

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#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!

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Welcome to #mypubliclandsroadtrip 2016, Week 2 – Our Camping Picks for Amazing Sunsets, Starry Skies and Smores!

Last week, we kicked off another summer roadtrip with Places That Rock – Caves, Volcanoes, Hoodoos and More.  Check out the interactive recap of Week 1 in our Places That Rock @esri storymap journal: 

http://mypubliclands.tumblr.com/roadtripplacesthatrock.

From June 20-26, #mypubliclandsroadtrip sets up camp on BLM-managed lands for beautiful sunsets, clear and starry skies, and endless outdoor fun. Follow along all week as we add new places to the #mypubliclandsroadtrip 2016 map and Our Camping Picks storymap journal

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Your public lands are a great place to watch the night sky and view the Milky Way. Approximately 80% of Americans can’t see the Milky Way from their homes. Escape city lights and head for your public lands for a memorable evening star gazing. This week is a great week to get out there - a new moon means that there isn’t much additional light pollution (tip: get away from cities). Next week the Perseid Meteor shower should be spectacular - some are estimating 200 meteors per hour!

These photos were taken last night in Colorado at Window Rock on Shelf Road around 11 PM (Camera Specs: Canon 60D f/2.8 ISO 3200 25 second exposure). Photo and write up by Kyle Sullivan, BLM Public Affairs Specialist.

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Visit a real ghost town this Halloween weekend!

The BLM manages abandoned homesteads, ghost towns and historic locations as a part of its multiple use mission.  Enjoy a few photos of our favorites here, and check out My Public Lands Flickr for more photos and full stories. #SeeBLM