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Find Solitude on an Idaho Wilderness #mypubliclandsroadtrip! In Idaho, BLM currently manages 541,812 acres of wilderness.

 

The Owyhee Canyonlands is a huge and remote area of eastern Oregon, southwestern Idaho and northern Nevada. Hidden within this vast high desert plateau are deep canyons carved by the Owyhee, Bruneau and Jarbidge Rivers. The rivers of the Owyhee and Bruneau-Jarbidge systems offer something for nearly every level of boating experience. The Owyhee and Bruneau-Jarbidge river systems provide visitors with unsurpassed solitude in canyons of unique beauty and form. From placid pools to turbulent whitewater; from vertical cliffs to steep grassy slopes; and from wildlife, such as California bighorn sheep to wildflowers, including the Bruneau River flox, these rivers and their canyons present visitors with challenging and extraordinary experiences.

 

Idaho is home to some of the newest Wilderness in the nation including the beautiful Boulder-White Clouds complex of central Idaho. These protected areas, designated in August 2015, preserve approximately 276,000 acres of high mountain backcountry with crystal lakes and abundant wildlife. The BLM manages 23,916 acres in the Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness. This mountainous and dry area features hiking, fishing, hunting, and equestrian use, as well as opportunities to just “get away” and enjoy some solitude. The Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness area also includes the upper Herd Creek watershed with one of the most intact native plant communities in the state. This patchwork of riparian willows, abundant bunch grasses, forbs, aspen and conifers provides critical habitat for fish and wildlife species in the wilderness area. A great way to get to the wilderness is to take a short hike from the end of the road to Herd Lake A hike to the top of Jerry Peak will greet you with great panoramic views of surrounding mountain ranges. Jim McClure-Jerry Peak is the least visited of the three new wilderness areas, so if you want to enjoy solitude, great vistas, and the natural environment with minimal impacts, this is a great place to visit.

 

Photo by Mark W. Lisk

For 25 years, the name Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area has rarely disappointed.

 

Outside the southern Oregon Coast community of Reedsport, about 100 elk call the preserve home, and passers-by who choose to pull off of Hwy. 38 get a sure-thing opportunity at wildlife viewing.

 

Sometimes a bull elk, Oregon’s largest land mammal, simply struts by. Other times, youngsters get up on their hind legs and do some sparring.

 

Almost every time, though, the elk are there to graze on the same meadow grasses and shrubs.

 

Video by BLM Oregon

Take the Backroads – #mypubliclandsroadtrip explores the sights along the Steese Highway in Alaska!

 

Modern day travelers can follow historic mining trails on the Steese Highway that once guided a torrent of prospectors to Interior Alaska’s goldfields. Here you can explore the vast landscape of the Great Interior, traditional home of the Athabascan people, and encounter local people who still hunt, trap, and mine in the same spirit as earlier Alaskans.

 

The 175-mile-long Steese Highway (Alaska Route 6) connects Fairbanks with the small town of Circle on the bank of the mighty Yukon River. Only the first 80 miles of the Steese Highway are paved, but the road is maintained year-round.

 

In addition to its own scenic and historic attractions, the highway also provides access to a world of outdoor adventure on BLM-managed public lands north of Fairbanks. From the Steese Highway, you can explore the Steese National Conservation Area, the White Mountains National Recreation Area, Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River, and Birch Creek Wild and Scenic River.

 

Video by Bob Wick, BLM

For the geologists, rock collectors and earth science lovers, this week is for you. The #mypubliclandsroadtrip 2016 heads out to find Places That Rock! on your public lands. All week, roadtrip stops will feature landscapes shaped by cool geological processes and formations – caves, volcanoes, hoodoos and more.

 

Our first stop is Sukakpak Mountain, one of the most visually stunning areas on ‪‎BLM‬ managed public lands along the Dalton Highway in northern ‪Alaska‬ (MP 203). A massive wall of Skajit Limestone rising to 4,459 feet (1,338 m) that glows in the afternoon sun, Sukakpak Mountain is an awe-inspiring sight. Peculiar ice-cored mounds known as palsas punctuate the ground at the mountain’s base. “Sukakpak” is an Inupiat word meaning “marten deadfall.” As pictured here from the north, the mountain resembles a carefully balanced log used to trap marten.

 

Sukakpak Mountain was designated in 1990 as a BLM Area of Critical Environmental Concern or ACEC to protect extraordinary scenic and geologic formations.

 

Sukakpak Mountain, BLM Alaska, photo by Bob Wick, BLM

#mypubliclandsroadtrip Week 6 – Places to Drop a Line – kicks off with a night under the stars at Santa Cruz Recreation Area.

 

Thirty miles north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, the snow-fed waters of the Rio del Medio and the Rio Frijoles begin a 2,000-mile journey and a 7,000-foot descent to the Gulf of Mexico. For a time they gather at Santa Cruz Lake at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Chimayo, behind the 125-foot Santa Cruz Dam.

 

Built in 1929 by the Santa Cruz Irrigation District, the dam is 535 feet across and 90 feet deep at the overflowing spillway. The lake covers 121 surface acres with water in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, providing recreational opportunities for anglers, boaters and hikers – plus campers who love stunning night views!

 

Photo by Sherman Hogue, BLM

 

Discover the unparalleled beauty of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona on #mypubliclandsroadtrip!

 

Arguably the most photogenic terrain in BLM’s National Conservation Lands system, the 280,000 acre Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is a geologic treasure containing a variety of diverse landscapes and unique wildlife, like the California condor.

 

The Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Area within the monument boasts scalloped rock walls. The colorful swirls of cross-bedded sandstone, to include the renowned “Wave,” in Coyote Buttes are an international hiking destination. The Vermilion Cliffs, a 3,000 foot high escarpment that is the namesake of the monument, dominates the Wilderness Area and is as rugged as it is beautiful.

 

Note: Many locations within the monument require a use permit; check with local offices for requirements.

 

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

Discover the unparalleled beauty of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona on #mypubliclandsroadtrip!

 

Arguably the most photogenic terrain in BLM’s National Conservation Lands system, the 280,000 acre Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is a geologic treasure containing a variety of diverse landscapes and unique wildlife, like the California condor.

 

The Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Area within the monument boasts scalloped rock walls. The colorful swirls of cross-bedded sandstone, to include the renowned “Wave,” in Coyote Buttes are an international hiking destination. The Vermilion Cliffs, a 3,000 foot high escarpment that is the namesake of the monument, dominates the Wilderness Area and is as rugged as it is beautiful.

 

Note: Many locations within the monument require a use permit; check with local offices for requirements.

 

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

Take the Backroads – #mypubliclandsroadtrip explores the sights along the Steese Highway in Alaska!

 

Modern day travelers can follow historic mining trails on the Steese Highway that once guided a torrent of prospectors to Interior Alaska’s goldfields. Here you can explore the vast landscape of the Great Interior, traditional home of the Athabascan people, and encounter local people who still hunt, trap, and mine in the same spirit as earlier Alaskans.

 

The 175-mile-long Steese Highway (Alaska Route 6) connects Fairbanks with the small town of Circle on the bank of the mighty Yukon River. Only the first 80 miles of the Steese Highway are paved, but the road is maintained year-round.

 

In addition to its own scenic and historic attractions, the highway also provides access to a world of outdoor adventure on BLM-managed public lands north of Fairbanks. From the Steese Highway, you can explore the Steese National Conservation Area, the White Mountains National Recreation Area, Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River, and Birch Creek Wild and Scenic River.

 

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

#mypubliclandsroadtrip in BLM Arizona checks out saguaro against sunsets and starry skies at the Sonoran Desert National Monument.

 

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

This week #mypubliclandsroadtrip “Takes the Backroads” along scenic byways and highways.

 

Our first stop – the Deschutes Wild and Scenic River in Oregon.

 

From the Oregon-Washington border past the whitewater rafting community of Maupin, the BLM manages dozens of camping sites, boat ramps and picnic areas along the Lower Deschutes. Also along the river is the 34-mile-long Lower Deschutes River Backcountry Byway. The nine-mile-long paved section ends at Sherars Falls, where Native Americans still fish for salmon using traditional platforms and nets. After that, the road is mostly gravel for another 25 miles to Macks Canyon pictured here.

 

Photos by Bob Wick, March 2016.

We’re kicking off the weekend at the rugged Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway in Idaho. #mypubliclandsroadtrip

 

The Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway, known locally as Mud Flat Road, is the primary access to central Owyhee County. From there, many other roads and primitive vehicle routes access more remote areas, including four Wilderness areas and three Wild and Scenic Rivers.

 

The Byway traverses 91 miles in Idaho and 12 miles in Oregon. A round-trip excursion on the Byway from Boise takes a full day. This graveled road can be traveled by most passenger vehicles during the summer. The road traverses relatively flat to gently rolling topography, but short grades can be encountered. Due to the fragile nature of the soils and vegetation, please keep all vehicles on the roadway. Traveling on an all-terrain vehicles is not allowed here, and all motorized vehicles must have registered license plates.

 

Photo by Aaron Cowan.

#mypubliclandsroadtrip heads to the Pacific Northwest for amazing views from an old fire lookout -- a great place to spend the night!

 

The job of a fire lookout is pretty obvious. Stay alert. Look outside. And report the first sign of smoke. There are other sights to see, however, especially if the fire lookout – now out of commission – is tucked away at the top of some beautiful Oregon wilderness.

 

These days, hiking visitors to Pechuck Lookout in the Table Rock Wilderness can stop, spend the night, and enjoy the amazing vistas.

 

This Pechuck Lookout was staffed from about 1918 until 1964. It’s a small cabin – wood on the inside, rocks on the outside – that is perfectly positioned at about 4,340 feet elevation along the Table Rock Trail. In 1990 it was established on the National Historic Lookout Register – and two years later, the World Lookout Register.

 

So come on out and enjoy a night of star-gazing at this open-to-the-public historic site!

#mypubliclandsroadtrip kicks off Week 5, Step Back in Time, with the stunning Dripping Springs Natural Area in southern New Mexico.

 

Dripping Springs, located on the west side of the Organ Mountains, reflects the story of the western frontier. Homesteaders originally settled here along stagecoach routes. Later during the time of Billy the Kid, the springs supported a resort, and then served as a sanatorium before it was eventually abandoned. Now managed by the BLM New Mexico, the area offers a scenic getaway and miles of hiking trails not far from Las Cruces.

#mypubliclandsroadtrip kicks of the weekend at Three Rivers Petroglyph Site in New Mexico, a site that offers direct access to petroglyphs.

 

The number and concentration of petroglyphs at Three Rivers make it one of the largest and most interesting petroglyphs sites in the Southwest. More than 21,000 glyphs of birds, humans, animals, fish, insects and plants as well as numerous geometric and abstract designs are scattered over 50 acres of New Mexico’s northern Chihuahuan Desert. The petroglyphs at Three Rivers, dating back to between about 900 and 1400 AD, were created by the Jornada Mogollon people who used stone tools to remove the dark patina on the exterior of the rock. A small pueblo ruin is nearby and Sierra Blanca towers above to the east.

 

A detailed guide to the petroglyphs is available at the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site.

#mypubliclandsroadtrip heads out this weekend to the South Fork of the Snake River in Idaho! The majestic South Fork of the Snake River flows for 66 miles through high mountain valleys, rugged canyons, and broad flood plains. This section of the Snake River supports the largest riparian cottonwood gallery forest in the West and is among the most unique and diverse ecosystems in Idaho. It is a birdwatching paradise that is home to 126 bird species, including 21 raptors (birds of prey) and is designated as a National Important Bird Area. The river also supports the largest native cutthroat fishery outside of Yellowstone National Park. The South Fork is known throughout the country as a premier blue ribbon trout fishery, and was selected as the host site for the 1997 World Fly-Fishing Championship.

 

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

On the way to Canada? Drive up the Taylor Highway in Alaska with #mypubliclandsroadtrip.

 

Did you know that the famous Alaska Highway, also known as the “Alcan,” is not the only way to drive to and from Alaska? The Taylor Highway also links Alaska with Canada via the Top of the World Highway – and leads visitors straight through the Fortymile country, one of Alaska’s most scenic and historic regions.

 

From its start near the Tanana River to its end at the Yukon River, the Taylor is a highway built around, next to, over, and because of rivers. It provides travelers with unparalleled access not only to the mighty Yukon but also the Fortymile Wild and Scenic River, a watercourse that has shaped this region in ways as deep as the valleys it has carved through the Yukon-Tanana Uplands. Travel the Taylor Highway’s twisty path, and you’ll pass through some of the state’s most interesting history – including the scene of Alaska’s first gold rush – while enjoying gorgeous scenery along the way.

 

Some travelers follow the Taylor Highway to its end in the Yukon River village of Eagle, home of historic Fort Egbert. Others turn off at its junction with the Top of the World Highway, which continues into Yukon Territory and the Klondike Gold Rush town of Dawson City. Either way, be prepared for an unforgettable trip through the Fortymile country.

 

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

This weekend, #mypubliclandsroadtrip enjoys the rugged beauty and solitude of the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness in Arizona, a part of the BLM's National Conservation Lands (photo by Bob Wick, BLM). The wilderness includes the 11 mile long Aravaipa Canyon, surrounding tablelands and nine side canyons. Within the colorful 1,000 foot canyon walls, desert bighorn sheep and over 200 species of birds live among shady cottonwoods along the perennial waters of Aravaipa Creek. A great roadtrip just two hours from Phoenix - explore #yourlands!

 

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

This week #mypubliclandsroadtrip “Takes the Backroads” along scenic byways and highways.

 

Our first stop – the Deschutes Wild and Scenic River in Oregon.

 

From the Oregon-Washington border past the whitewater rafting community of Maupin, the BLM manages dozens of camping sites, boat ramps and picnic areas along the Lower Deschutes. Also along the river is the 34-mile-long Lower Deschutes River Backcountry Byway. The nine-mile-long paved section ends at Sherars Falls, where Native Americans still fish for salmon using traditional platforms and nets. After that, the road is mostly gravel for another 25 miles to Macks Canyon pictured here.

 

Photos by Bob Wick, March 2016.

Pedal, ride or hike your way through Arizona’s Middle Gila River Canyons with #mypubliclandsroadtrip!

 

Don’t worry, they’re still out there – those parts of the country that impress and surprise without having a big entrance sign out front. The complex network of canyons around the Middle Gila River near Florence, Arizona is just such a place. The area provides a designated system of primitive desert roads and rockcrawling for the off-road vehicle aficionado - with remote ravines containing evidence of the area’s mining and ranching past.

 

If you’re looking to pedal, the Arizona National Scenic Trail winds through the heart of the area. The 37-mile backcountry stretch of singletrack north of the river negotiates impressive geology with evocative names like “The Spine” - offering a combination of scenery and challenge.

 

Prefer boots to tires? The 5,800-acre White Canyon Wilderness draws hikers to a winding desert canyon complete with grand saguaro and slickrock pour offs. Regardless of how you travel, preparation and Leave No Trace are the name of the game.

The BLM-managed National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska is unlike anything else in the world. Rich in resources, it is an incredible place of shallow wetlands, deep lakes, beaded streams, deep open lakes and tundra. The BLM is developing a Regional Mitigation Strategy to effectively mitigate impacts from energy development within the NPR-A. What resources will benefit? Brown and polar bears, walrus, small game and birds just to name a few.

 

About 90 bird species, primarily migratory, are found annually in the NPR-A. The yellow billed loon winters in the Yellow Sea region and nests here; it’s very rare and being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act. A few species - including rock and willow ptarmigan, common raven, gyrfalcon, and snowy owl - live in the NPR-A year round.

 

There are also impressive herds of caribou in the NPR-A. The Teshekpuk Caribou Herd is an important subsistence resource to the residents of Atqasuk, Barrow, Nuiqsut and Wainwright in the NPR-A. The primary range of the Teshekpuk Caribou Herd is the North Slope west of the Colville River. And the Western Arctic Caribou Herd contributes to the subsistence needs of about 40 villages in northwestern Alaska.

 

Photo: Bob Wick, BLM

Wyoming has an unbelievable variety of world class wildlife. From grizzly bears to marmots, golden eagles to cutthroat trout, Wyoming offers something for everyone. BLM lands are vital to big game, upland game, waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds, raptors and hundreds of species of non-game mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.As you drive through Wyoming, you can’t help but see pronghorn (commonly called antelope after its African cousin). The pronghorn is the fastest land animal in North America, running up to 55 mph. There are almost as many pronghorn in Wyoming as people! Besides pronghorn, Wyoming also is home to many other game animals including bighorn sheep, mountain goat, elk, mule deer, white tail deer and moose.

 

Mammals of all sizes are abundant: marmots, chipmunks, skunks, raccoons, badgers, rabbits, beaver, prairie dogs, coyotes, foxes, mountain lions and bears.

 

If you look overhead, try to spot a golden eagle, a Swainson’s hawk or peregrine falcon. Listen closely and you’ll hear the distinctive song of Wyoming’s state bird the western meadowlark. Wyoming is also home to about 40 percent of the Greater Sage-Grouse in the United States.

 

Anglers travel from all over to take advantage of Wyoming’s world class trout fisheries. Wyoming streams and lakes provide habitat for cutthroat, rainbow, brown, brook, lake, and golden trout. Other popular game fish include walleye, sauger, pike, grayling, ling, bass, bluegill, sunfish, catfish, and carp. Wyoming also manages habitat for several endangered or threatened species like the black footed ferret, the Canada lynx, grizzly bears, trumpeter swans, and the Wyoming toad.

 

BLM Wyoming manages wildlife habitat in cooperation with other state and federal agencies. When authorizing land use activities, the needs of wildlife, fish and plants must be taken into consideration.

 

Wyoming’s wildlife is truly worth the watching!

BLM in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas care for 13.5 million acres of public lands, from breathtaking prairies and lush riparian areas to open woodlands and desert peaks – the iconic landscapes of the American West.

 

Join #mypubliclandsroadtrip in BLM New Mexico to explore outstanding national monuments and wilderness areas, visit unique historic and prehistoric sites, enjoy a diversity of recreation sites and more!

Find your #weekendinspiration along the backroads of Wyoming! #mypubliclandsroadtrip

 

The Red Gulch/Alkali National Backcountry Byway is a 32-mile scenic drive on improved gravel and dirt roads through the foothills of the beautiful Bighorn Mountains. Near each of the two entrances to this historic route, you’ll see a National Backcountry Byway kiosk which provides historical information about the byway as well as road conditions.

 

Along the byway, day hike or backpack into one of three areas nominated for the National Wilderness Preservation System: Alkali Creek, Medicine Lodge and Trapper Canyon. The Alkali and Red Gulch roads serve as boundaries for the Alkali Creek Wilderness Study Area, known for its fascinating rock formations. Trapper Creek Wilderness Study Area lies a few miles north of the Alkali/Red Gulch intersection and offers an impressive view into Trapper Canyon. This is one of the most spectacular canyons on the western slope of the Bighorn Mountains. (Note: Actual access into Trapper Canyon is difficult and permission to cross privately-owned land is necessary.) Add superb fishing to your hike in the dramatic Medicine Lodge Canyon, a part of the Medicine Lodge Wilderness Study Area.

 

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

#mypubliclandsroadtrip explores the Black Rock Desert of Nevada this weekend!

 

The Black Rock-High Rock region of Northwestern Nevada includes the longest intact segments of the historic emigrant trails to California and Oregon in the western U.S. – including wagon ruts, historic inscriptions and a wilderness landscape largely unchanged since the days of the pioneers.

 

The Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area Act of 2000 protected about 120 miles of the emigrant trails, from Rye Patch Reservoir north through the vast Black Rock Desert and then the narrow gorge of High Rock Canyon. The Act also established the 800,000 acre national conservation area and the wilderness within the NCA.

 

Also within the NCA, the Black Rock Desert Playa covers the large dry lakebed of ancient Lake Lahontan. The playa has grown in popularity during the past decade as a place for recreation events that need a lot of room. The world land speed record was set here in 1997. Amateur rocketry clubs use the playa to set world altitude records. And the playa is the location of the annual Burning Man Festival, the largest Leave No Trace event in the country.

 

Photos and Burning Man timelapse by Bob Wick, BLM

The Basin and Range area of southeastern Nevada is an iconic American landscape. The area is one of the most undisturbed corners of the broader Great Basin region, which extends from the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the west to the Colorado Plateau in the east. The vast, rugged landscape redefines our notions of distance and space and brings into sharp focus the will and resolve of the people who have lived here.

 

The Basin and Range National Monument comprises 704,000 acres of public lands managed by the BLM in Lincoln and Nye counties in Nevada, about two hours north of Las Vegas. The monument includes Garden Valley and Coal Valley; the Worthington Mountains, Golden Gate Range, Seaman Mountains, and Mount Irish Range; the Hiko Narrows and White River Narrows; and the Shooting Gallery rock art site. It is the first national monument managed by the BLM in Nevada.

 

The Monument preserves the legacies of 13,000 years of culture. The White River Narrows Archaeological District represents one of the largest concentrations of prehistoric rock art in eastern Nevada and includes panels dating back 4,000 years and contains the northernmost known examples of the Pahranagat style of rock art. The Basin and Range area was mostly unknown to European-Americans until the 1820s. Mormon settlers came to the area in the mid-19th century. Mining began in the area in the 1860s and head frames, mining cabins, and other structures associated with the region's mining history can be found in the Mount Irish area. During the late 19th century, Basque and other ranchers brought sheep and cattle ranching into Garden Valley, and ranching remains to this day.

 

The closest towns to Basin and Range National Monument are Ely on the north, Caliente on the east, and Alamo on the south. All three towns are located on US Highway 93. Just north of Alamo, where Highway 93 doglegs east before heading north again, State Route 318 branches off and cuts straight north toward Ely. State Route 318 runs along the eastern edge of the Monument and provides access to several of its most fascinating petroglyph sites, including White River Narrows and Mount Irish Archeological Districts and the Shooting Gallery rock art area. By driving up the west side of the Monument along State Route 375 toward Rachel, visitors can reach the forests and limestone cliffs and arches of the Worthington Mountains Wilderness. Opportunities for solitude abound in the wide open expanse for climbers, hikers, bicyclists, campers, hunters, and OHV riders.

 

www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/prog/nlcs_new/Basin_and_Range_Nation...

Photos by Tyler Roemer; courtesy of the Conservation Lands Foundation

The bluest water you have ever seen – that is what the Molalla River is famous for. Come visit the natural

treasure just southeast of Portland for amazing hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing – and yes, swimming, too!

 

The Molalla River Trail System is an extensive network of more than 20 miles of trails for hikers, bicyclists and equestrians. And nearby the Molalla corridor is the Table Rock Wilderness, also managed by BLM! If the lush, green forests and columnar basalt features of the river canyon aren’t enough to dazzle, there are also views of the Cascade mountains!

 

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

On the way to Death Valley National Park, explore the unique geology of the Alabama Hills – also known as movie flat!

 

Since the early 1920’s, famous movie stars like Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, and the Lone Ranger have been shooting it out at Alabama Hills. In 1969, the BLM dedicated nearly 30,000 acres of public land west of Lone Pine, California, as the Alabama Hills Recreation Area. The rounded, oddly shaped contours of the Alabama Hills form a sharp contrast to the glacially chiseled ridges of the nearby Sierra Nevada. Both landforms consist of a similar granitic rock that was uplifted around 100 million years ago.

 

The Alabama Hills lie west of Death Valley National Park, so it’s an easy trip for park visitors. And the Alabama Hills also lie at the base of Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48, which adds to the spectacular landscape. The BLM and the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group care for this area with the goal of preserving the hills in as close as natural state as possible for the enjoyment of future generations. A one-of-a-kind #mypubliclandsroadtrip!

 

Photo courtesy the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group

#mypubliclandsroadtrip Climbs Boulders at the Volcanic Tablelands!

 

Get your rock on at the Volcanic Tablelands in California! The Volcanic Tablelands is a vast volcanic landscape that was formed over 700,000 years ago by materials spewing from the Long Valley Caldera, located to the northwest.

 

The rugged terrain and interesting geologic formations make for great recreation opportunities, from rock climbing and hiking to bouldering and OHV riding to horseback riding and wildlife viewing. The Volcanic Tablelands offers something for everyone -- and with a view. Explore #yourlands!

 

Photo by BLM California employee

Kicking off #mypubliclandsroadtrip Week 8 - Places to Beat the Heat – at the Beautiful California Coastal National Monument at Point Vicente.

 

The Palos Verdes Peninsula’s coastal beaches adjacent to the California Coastal National Monument rocks are an inviting place to beat the heat! Only minutes away from the fast-moving Los Angeles, the coast is filled with rugged natural beauty and majestic beaches while providing some of southern California’s last remaining untrammeled habitats for a variety of seals, birds, and intertidal organisms.

 

Considered one of the most beautiful areas in the world, Point Vicente is the centerpiece of breathtaking coastline vistas, dramatic steep cliffs, gracefully rolling hills, and off-shore rocks of the national monument. While visiting the coast, please view wildlife from a distance and give them the space and peace needed to breed and co-exist.

 

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

#mypubliclandsroadtrip explores Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area in Idaho – come for the watchable wildlife and stunning views, stay for the starry skies.

 

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. The BLM’s mission at the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area is to preserve this remarkable wildlife habitat, while providing for other compatible uses of the land. Some 800 pairs of hawks, owls, eagles and falcons come each spring to mate and raise their young. The NCA is “nature in the rough,” with few public facilities. However, the birds and their unique environment offer rich rewards to those willing to experience the NCA on its own terms and who have patience to fit into the natural rhythms of life in this special place.

 

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

Just outside of Eugene, Oregon, is a 3,000-acre wetlands that is a treasure for every family that visits.

 

The native, wet prairie land is home to hundreds of rare plant species, with wildflowers seemingly always in bloom.

 

Birders love the open space as both local and migrating bird populations are everywhere.

 

Families can also take a bike ride through the wetlands, stopping by one of the large oak trees for a picnic. Locals know this #mypubliclandsroadtrip for its epic sunsets just outside of town.

 

Video by Greg Shine, BLM

#mypubliclandsroadtrip ends the day in the Wyoming sand dunes!

 

Killpecker Sand Dunes – encompassing approximately 109,00 acres – is one of the largest Sand Dunes in the world. Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) use is allowed, but only in the Sand Dunes Open Play area and only on active sand dunes. Motor enthusiasts from across the country make these dunes as one of their favorite spots to visit.

 

Bring your dirt bike, atv, and buggy and enjoy the 11.00 acres of designated open play space! Make sure to visit the BLM website for information on safety and rules on Killpecker Sand Dunes OHV.

 

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

From expansive landscapes to starry skies, enjoy the views of Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument in California with #mypubliclandsroadtrip!

 

The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument – jointly managed by the BLM and Forest Service – includes some of the most scenic and biologically-diverse landscapes in northern California. The views range from rolling, oak-studded hillsides to steep creek canyons and expansive ridgelines.

 

The monument is within easy driving distance from Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit and explore the wide range of recreation opportunities here – hike trails in the Cache Creek Wilderness, raft the whitewater of Cache Creek, boating in to the secluded Cedar Roughs Wilderness, or ride the rugged terrain of the Knoxville Recreation Area. And at the end of the day, find a quiet spot for primitive camping and out-of-this-world stargazing. Explore #yourlands!

 

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

Camp along the Rio Grande with #mypubliclandsroadtrip!

 

The Wild Rivers Recreation Area is located within the Río Grande Del Norte National Monument and along the Río Grande Wild and Scenic River and Red River Wild and Scenic River. Here, experience the beauty of an 800-foot deep canyon sliced into volcanic flows by the Río Grande (Spanish for Great River) and Red River where they come together.

 

Located in the high plains of northern New Mexico, this area is rich with history, rugged beauty, and enticing recreational opportunities. A back country byway, visitor center, campgrounds, picnic facilities, and trails are available for visitors. Several spectacular overlooks are found here, including La Junta Point, one of the most dramatic views in the state, overlooking the confluence of the Red River and the Río Grande – and it is wheelchair accessible.

 

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

 

#mypubliclandsroadtrip rides the Pony Express Trail through Wyoming.

 

Each year dozens of volunteers from the National Pony Express Association re-ride the historic route of the Pony Express National Historic Trail that runs from St. Louis to Sacramento. That route takes them across many miles of public land in four states in their roughly 2,000 miles of travel. The volunteers carry a mochilla, a special bag that fits on their saddle, full of mail. Each rider has a section of the trail to ride with the mail, then the mochilla is passed to another rider until the re-ride is complete.

 

The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center is an annual stop on this re-ride. As shown in the video below, each June visitors of the NHTIC have the opportunity to see the mochilla change from one rider to another in front of a replica of a Pony Express station on the grounds of the center.

 

Visitors who want to learn about the Pony Express can visit the NHTIC year round. The NHTIC is located at 1501 North Poplar Street in Casper, Wyoming.

Ending the day with a few colorful sunrise shots from Slinkard Wilderness Study Area in California - taken by BLMer Bob Wick this morning. The view - from a 9,000 foot peak just south of Monitor Pass - looks towards Topaz Lake, Nevada. #mypubliclandsroadtrip

 

Although the winter had record low precipitation levels in the Sierra, moisture in late spring and summer has resulted in a good wildflower bloom. A note from Bob - I not adjust the color saturation on this -- it was just one of those "saturated" mornings!

Watch the sunset from St. Anthony Sand Dunes in Idaho.

 

Located far from any ocean, the St. Anthony Sand Dunes appears as a rolling sea of sand on the eastern edge of Idaho’s volcanic Snake River Plain. These vast dunes are the largest in Idaho. They blanket an area approximately 35 miles long and 5 wide and range from 50 to 500 feet high.

 

This 10,600-acre playground of shifting, white quartz sand is known for its unique beauty and exceptional space for off-highway vehicle enthusiasts, hikers and equestrians. Picnicking, snowmobiling, wildlife viewing and camping opportunities are also available. The best time to visit is spring through fall as summer temperatures cause sands to reach over 100 degrees. The area features Deadhorse Bowl, a popular OHV sand bowl one-mile in circumference and 400 feet deep, located in the western section of the dune complex. The Egin Lakes Campground offers a potable water system, RV dump station and 48 improved camp units, including electrical service. A great stop with something for everyone!

#mypubliclandsroadtrip explores Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area in Idaho – come for the watchable wildlife and stunning views, stay for the starry skies.

 

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. The BLM’s mission at the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area is to preserve this remarkable wildlife habitat, while providing for other compatible uses of the land. Some 800 pairs of hawks, owls, eagles and falcons come each spring to mate and raise their young. The NCA is “nature in the rough,” with few public facilities. However, the birds and their unique environment offer rich rewards to those willing to experience the NCA on its own terms and who have patience to fit into the natural rhythms of life in this special place.

 

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

The Gulkana Wild and Scenic River is home to a wide variety of Alaskan wildlife and provides a unique viewing experience to all who visit. While floating or recreating on, or around the river, you may see an assortment of grizzly bears, black bears, moose, caribou, beavers, coyotes, otters, bald eagles, owls, and waterfowl. There are more than 33 species of mammals and 59 species of birds known to live in the Gulkana River basin!

 

The Nelchina caribou herd dominates as the most abundant large mammal in the corridor. However, there is also a high density of grizzly bears in the area due to the equally high availability of spawning salmon. Black bears are less common to see along the river, in part due to the large amount of the more competitive grizzly bears.

 

The Gulkana is also considered to be one of the most popular sport fishing streams in Alaska. Rainbow trout, arctic grayling, king salmon, red salmon, whitefish, long nose suckers, lamprey and steelhead all can be found in the river and surrounding streams.

 

This #mypubliclandsroadtrip stop provides stunning views of mountains, rivers and wildlife that’s worth watching!

 

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

Located in the magnificent red rock country near Grand Junction, Colorado, the McInnis Canyons NCA offers dinosaur buffs an opportunity to explore sites of significant historic excavations. Step-back 140 million years and hike the 1.5-mile Trail Through Time, an interpretive trail adjacent to an active dinosaur quarry. In addition to learning about past excavations, you can occasionally see paleontologists working onsite between May-August.

 

You’ll also find endless outdoor activities in the 123,000-acre NCA. The area includes a hiking trail to the second-largest concentration of natural arches in North America. World-class mountain biking can be found on Mack Ridge and along the 142-mile Kokopelli trail, which extends to Moab, Utah. Twenty-five miles of the Colorado River wind their way through the NCA, offering a flat-water float through spectacular red-rock canyons. Pictograph and petroglyph sites abound, and the Old Spanish Trail - once referred to as the “longest, crookedest, most arduous mule route in the history of America” - runs through the NCA.

 

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

Places That Rock -- #mypubliclandsroadtrip Lands on the Moon!

 

Managed jointly by the BLM and National Park Service, Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho is a uniquely preserved volcanic landscape whose central focus is the Great Rift, a 62-mile long crack in the Earth’s crust. Craters, cinder coves, lava tubes, deep cracks and vast lava fields form a strangely beautiful volcanic sea on central Idaho’s Snake River Plain.

 

Local legends made references to the landscape resembling the surface of the moon. In fact, the second group of astronauts to walk on the moon visited Craters of the Moon in 1969 to study the volcanic geology and to explore an unusual and harsh environment in preparation for their trip to space. Researchers continue to study the area - particularly the caves within the monument and nearby BLM Areas of Critical Environmental Concern. A number of the caves provide hibernation habitat for Townsend’s big-eared bats, a sensitive species. And they provide a great learning resource for local students.

 

Visitors can explore this area by car while traveling along a 7-mile loop drive or by exploring via hiking paths and interpretive trails. In the winter, this area is a great spot for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Explore #yourlands!

 

Photo by James Neeley

Ending the day with a few colorful sunset shots from Slinkard Wilderness Study Area in California - taken by BLMer Bob Wick this morning. The view - from a 9,000 foot peak just south of Monitor Pass - looks towards Topaz Lake, Nevada. #mypubliclandsroadtrip

 

Although the winter had record low precipitation levels in the Sierra, moisture in late spring and summer has resulted in a good wildflower bloom. A note from Bob - I did not adjust the color saturation on this -- it was just one of those "saturated" mornings!

#mypubliclandsroadtrip ends the day in the Wyoming sand dunes!

 

Killpecker Sand Dunes – encompassing approximately 109,00 acres – is one of the largest Sand Dunes in the world. Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) use is allowed, but only in the Sand Dunes Open Play area and only on active sand dunes. Motor enthusiasts from across the country make these dunes as one of their favorite spots to visit.

 

Bring your dirt bike, atv, and buggy and enjoy the 11.00 acres of designated open play space! Make sure to visit the BLM website for information on safety and rules on Killpecker Sand Dunes OHV.

 

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

Enjoy beautiful skies over the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument with #mypubliclandsroadtrip.

 

The Canyons of the Ancients National Monument contains some of the highest densities of archaeological sites in North America, with pueblos from around 1200 A.D. Stop first at the Anasazi Heritage Center (monument headquarters), Southwest Colorado’s premier archaeological museum of the Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) and other Native cultures of the Four Corners region. A short hike from the Anasazi Heritage Center leads to the Escalante Pueblo and a dramatic view of the surrounding Colorado and Utah landscapes.

 

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

 

#conservationlands15 Social Media Takeover, June 15th, Top 15 Places to Stargaze on the #mypubliclandsroadtrip in BLM California

 

1. Amargosa Wild and Scenic River

2. Cadiz Dunes Wilderness

3. California Coastal National Monument

4. Carrizo Plain National Monument

5. Fort Ord National Monument

6. Kingston Range Wilderness

7. Little Black Sands Beach in King Range National Conservation Area

8. Lost Coast Trail at King Range National Conservation Area

9. North Maricopa Wilderness

10. Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area

11. Piper Mountains Wilderness

12. Point Arena-Stornetta in California Coastal National Monument

13. San Gorgonio Wilderness

14. Slinkard Wilderness

15. Whipple Mountains Wilderness

#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.

 

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

#mypubliclandsroadtrip ends the day in the Wyoming sand dunes!

 

Killpecker Sand Dunes – encompassing approximately 109,00 acres – is one of the largest Sand Dunes in the world. Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) use is allowed, but only in the Sand Dunes Open Play area and only on active sand dunes. Motor enthusiasts from across the country make these dunes as one of their favorite spots to visit.

 

Bring your dirt bike, atv, and buggy and enjoy the 11.00 acres of designated open play space! Make sure to visit the BLM website for information on safety and rules on Killpecker Sand Dunes OHV.

 

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

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.

 

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area extends out from the Oregon coast, one mile into the Pacific Ocean. Standing 93 feet tall at the westernmost point of the basalt headland, the lighthouse has guided ships and their supplies along the west coast since 1873. Last year, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse underwent a preservation project that lasted about 90 days.

 

The offshore islands are a year-round refuge for harbor seals and a spring-summer home for thousands of nesting seabirds. Gray whales can be spotted during their annual migrations to Mexico (late fall-early winter) and Alaska (late winter-early spring). During the summer months, some gray whales take the opportunity to feed in the shallow waters around the headland.

 

Cobble Beach is compiled of millions of round basalt rocks that produce an applause-like sound as the waves roll in. When the tide is low a vibrant ocean floor is revealed—pools of colorful animals including orange sea stars, purple sea urchins, and giant green anemones.

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