15 years ago this past weekend, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) designated California’s King Range near Eureka as the very first National Conservation Land unit. The National Conservation Lands are America’s newest collection of protected public lands and waterways. Today National Conservation Lands protect 30 million acres of America’s most treasured places – places rich in ecological, cultural, and recreational values. The beauty of conservation lands is their ability to provide access and opportunity for all, whether its hiking in a remote Wilderness Study Area or four wheeling to your favorite hunting spot with vistas stretching before you. The National Conservation Lands protect a landscape’s values and in doing so they drive the nation’s $646 billion outdoor recreation economy.
In the Eastern Sierra, the National Conservation Lands support our western rural way of life and our local gateway communities. While these lands protect clean water and air and provide habitat for wildlife, they also ensure unlimited access to America’s open spaces. This preservation system helps ensure that OUR lands remain open for all to enjoy, instead of being sold off for development by private interests, a very real threat facing our public lands today. A diverse group of partners support the National Conservation Lands with their volunteer efforts to steward roads, trails and campgrounds to name a few. Our BLM field office has amazing staff who care about our public lands and their values and work hard to get things done on the ground. Thanks to all of you who invest your time, energy, and money to support our National Conservation Lands. Get out and enjoy your favorite public lands this summer: the Inyo Mountains, the Bodie Hills, Cottonwood Wild and Scenic River- may they endure for generations and may places deserving of protection be added to the National Conservation Lands.