America’s Newest Protected Public Lands – Yours To Discover
The National Conservation Lands are 36 million acres that contain some of the most spectacular scenic, natural, historical, cultural and archaeological sites in the country. These protected public lands, rivers and trails, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, have joined the ranks of our national parks and wildlife refuges as guardians of our nation’s natural, cultural and outdoor heritage and drivers of its $646 billion outdoor recreation economy.
Freedom, Discovery and Beauty
The National Conservation Lands include 27 National Monuments, 22 National Conservation Areas and other similar designations, Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, and National Scenic and Historic Trails. These are places you may already know and love—all around the West, even extending to the East coast—and they embody freedom, discovery and outdoor experiences that sustain us. For some, they contain a cultural history th
From 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 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 their outdoor traditions.
This collection of protected public lands also protects and preserves America’s sacred sites and cultural history. For some communities, including Native Americans, these places safeguard a living history that is still vital to their contemporary culture. 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.
Places Worth Protecting
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.