The National Conservation Lands are 31 million acres of our most ecologically rich and culturally significant lands—open to all—managed by the Bureau of Land Management. These places, mostly large and pristine landscapes, are found throughout the West, Alaska and even extend to the East Coast. America’s newest collection of protected public lands and waterways stands alongside our national parks and wildlife refuges as guardians of America’s heritage and drivers of the nation’s $646 billion outdoor recreation economy.
Freedom, Discovery & Beauty
The National Conservation Lands include National Monuments and National Conservation Areas, Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, National Scenic and Historic Trails. These nationally significant lands embody freedom, discovery and unique outdoor experiences.
From hiking, biking and horseback riding like we do here at Sloan Canyon to whitewater rafting and catching trophy brown trout in Colorado’s Browns Canyon National Monument to world-class rock climbing in Nevada’s Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area (NCA) to coastal camping and hiking on the black sand beaches of California’s King Range NCA, the recreational opportunities afforded by the National Conservation Lands are unmatched—and they support the tourism and recreation economies of many rural Western communities.
The National Conservation Lands ensure our clean air and water, while protecting critical habitat for our wildlife. Most National Conservation Lands areas are open to hunting and fishing, and offer some of America’s best places for sportsmen to carry on outdoor traditions.
This collection of protected public lands also protects and preserves America’s sacred sites and cultural history. From ancient Puebloan cultures of 1,000 years ago to Spanish, Mexican, Native American and American settler histories from recent centuries, the National Conservation Lands represent a complete tour of the history of the American West. Our American military history is also preserved in places like California’s Fort Ord National Monument.
...But There Are Threats
The lands, rivers and trails within the National Conservation Lands have been designated for protection, but they are also incredibly vulnerable. They face abuse from reckless oil and gas drilling and irresponsible off-road vehicle use. They are subject to looting, vandalism and neglect from underfunding. Working together we can reduce these threats with on-the-ground work, partnerships and advocacy.
Threats to these lands also come from Congressional attacks on the Antiquities Act—a bedrock conservation law that has been used by 16 Presidents—8 from each party—to protect our nation’s heritage. Many of our national monuments and national parks would not exist today if they had not been protected under the Antiquities Act.