National Conservation Lands

Inyo Mountains Wilderness

The National Conservation Lands 

Our newest system of federally protected conservation lands, 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.

The National Conservation Lands include National Monuments and National Conservation Areas, Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, and National Scenic and Historic Trails. These nationally significant lands embody freedom, discovery and unique outdoor experiences. The recreational opportunities afforded by the National Conservation Lands are unmatched—and they support the tourism and recreation economies of our Eastern Sierra Communities, as well as rural communities around the west.

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.


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.

Local Lands and Friends of the Inyo 

23.29% of California’s 171 units of National Conservation Lands lie in Inyo and Mono counties and hold innumerable possibilities for recreation, learning, and scientific research. A complete list of our local conservation lands can be found here.

Upon the creation of the National Conservation Lands system in 2009, Friends of the Inyo worked closely with the Bishop and Ridgecrest Bureau of Land Management offices to restore and promote recreation on the National Conservation Lands and has since led restoration and stewardship trips on National Conservation Lands in Inyo and Mono counties.

Friends of the Inyo’s work on National Conservation Lands has included:

  1. Active protection and monitoring of the Bodie and Bodie Mountain Wilderness Study Areas
  2. Construction, maintenance, and patrol on a 20 acre riparian exclosure on Cottonwood Creek, the only designated Wild and Scenic River protected from its headwaters to its terminus
  3. Route inventories of Wilderness Study Areas in partnership with Bureau of Land Management’s Bishop Field Office
  4. Protection of Conglomerate Mesa, part of the California Desert National Conservation Lands, located in the southern Inyo Mountains, which is under threat from gold mining
  5. Annual hikes and explorations of National Conservation Lands throughout
    the Eastern SierraAbout the Friends Grassroots Network

About the Friends Grassroots Network

Conservation starts with community, history has shown that places are best protected when there is a group of local citizen advocates to lead the effort. As members of the Friends Grassroots Network we do critical on-the-ground work to steward and protect the National Conservation Lands. We also use our collective voice as a national network to advance strong conservation management policies and practices. In 2014 the Friends Grassroots Network collectively raised over $2 million to support this work.