My Public Lands

This is an official tumblr for the Bureau of Land Management. Follow the next generation of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands.

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    BLM Utah Shares Dinosaur Discoveries through State-of-the-Art Technology and Interpretive Sites

    To date, nearly 300 different species of dinosaur have been discovered in Utah, and through interpretive sites and state-of-the art technology, the Bureau of Land Management Utah is making those discoveries on BLM-administered land accessible to the public and scientific community. The Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry near Price, Utah, contains the densest concentration of Jurassic-aged dinosaur bones ever found. More than 12,000 bones (belonging to at least 74 individual dinosaurs) have been excavated at the quarry. – My Public Lands 2014 Magazine


    ReBecca Hunt-Foster, BLM Canyon Country District Paleontologist, cleans one of the many tracks at the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracksite in Utah.

    In 2009, a remarkable new dinosaur tracksite was discovered in the BLM’s Moab Field Office, containing one of the largest multi-animal tracksites in North America. The Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracksite preserves 10 different types of tracks, including various dinosaurs, birds and crocodiles, with over 200 tracks documented in an area of approximately 500 meters. The site is being studied by an international team led by Dr. Martin Lockley of the University of Colorado at Denver. The tracks, approximately 112 million years old, are preserved in the Lower Cretaceous Ruby Ranch Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation.


    Volunteers with the Utah Friends of Paleontology work with researchers and the BLM to clean the track site. This picture was taken in 2013 during early cleaning efforts.

    Beginning in 2013, ReBecca Hunt-Foster, BLM Canyon Country District paleontologist, led local volunteers from the Utah Friends of Paleontology and the Canyonlands Natural History Association to complete comprehensive sweeping of the site to prepare the tracks to be photographed. With completion accomplished in August 2014, Neffra Matthews, BLM National Operations Center, and Brent Breithaupt, BLM Wyoming State Office, worked to thoroughly stereo photograph the site. These digital images will be processed using photogrammetric software to render high-resolution, three-dimensional images of the surface and associated tracks. This imagery will be used by the BLM for documentation, research, monitoring and management purposes. Over the past 16 years, Matthews and Breithaupt have developed many of the current photogrammetric documentation techniques currently used at dinosaur tracksites around the world, expanding information about discoveries to scientific communities and the public.


    Neffra Matthews (NOC) and Brent Breithaupt (WYSO) stereo-photographed the site in August 2014.


    On left, photogrammetric image of a large theropod track from the Mill Canyon Tracksite. Distortions from camera lens have been removed from this image, making precise direct measurements of length and width possible. On right, photogrammetrically derived three dimensional digital point cloud that duplicates the surface at a sub-millimeter level. The digital surface is color coded to represent depth with dark blue being the deepest. This track is just over 3 cm at the deepest point.

    The BLM’s Moab Field Office is also currently working on construction of a publicly interpreted trail that will guide visitors around the site. The Moab anticipates opening the trail to the public in late 2014. This work has been supported by the BLM through a “Hands on the Land” grant and funding assistance from the Utah State Office as well as outside donations through the Canyonlands Natural History Association, Utah Friends of Paleontology, The Topper Family Trust and the Moab Giants Museum.

    Story and photos by BLM Utah

    Celebrating Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument’s Golden Birthday! 

    The vast and austere landscape of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENMoffers a spectacular array of scientific and historic resources. Encompassing 1.9 million acres, the Monument was created on September 18, 1996 by presidential proclamation – the first monument entrusted to BLM management. World-class dinosaur excavations have yielded more information about ecosystem change at the end of the dinosaur era than almost any other place in the world. Among the fossil finds, paleontologists have identified dinosaurs not previously known to have inhabited this region, as well as several new species.

    The vast landscapes of GSENM offers visitors a variety of recreational opportunities for a wide range of users. From the solitude of lonesome canyons to the excitement of winding rugged backways, the Monument is truly a treasure.

    Plan your visit and learn more:

    Photos by Bob Wick, BLM 

    Exploring the Gulkana Wild and Scenic River

    The Gulkana is one of the most popular sportfishing rivers in Alaska, providing rich habitat for rainbow trout, arctic grayling, king salmon, red salmon, whitefish, longnose suckers, and lamprey.  A poplular river for fisherman and boaters in the summer, this river has also played an important role in the lives of the Ahtna, providing access to subsistence resoucres throughout history and pre-history.  During winter months the frozen Gulkana River was historically used as an important travel route from the Copper River to the Tangle Lakes and what is now known as the Denali Highway area. 

    The Gulkana River Watershed drains approximately 2,140 square miles of Southcentral Alaska.  The river begins in the Alaska Range near Summit Lake and flows south into the Copper River, eventually draining into Prince William Sound.  Several hundred lakes and ponds are scattered throughout the spruce-dominated forest of the Gulkana River Watershed, providing abundant nesting areas for trumpeter swans and waterfowl.

    Photos by Jeremy Matlock, BLM


    I love Arizona Wilderness.  It offers that special something which non-wilderness areas can’t match. I should know because I came from Illinois where I hiked many miles of forest and meadow trails.  The hiking was a lot of fun, but I never knew how great hiking could be until I discovered the Arizona Wilderness.

    I am blown away by the plethora of Wilderness areas in Arizona.  I can drive from Phoenix in any direction and be in a Wilderness area within an hour.  What is more surprising is how fast one can disappear into these areas and be surrounded by the most amazing scenery anywhere in the United States.

    I have hiked Eagletail Mountains Wilderness where I have seen mule deer, wild horses and ancient petroglyphs. I have spent time in the Superstition Wilderness where Gila monsters wander. I’ve walked the Upper Burro Creek Wilderness where wild burros will keep an eye on you while you hike. I have been lucky enough to see the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness, where the number of hikers is limited to 50 a day.  I have spent time in the Hassayampa River Canyon Wilderness, where one can hike in the river all day admiring Mother Nature’s magnificence.

    Arizona Wilderness allows me to explore areas rarely hiked, make new discoveries with every step, immerse myself into the wilderness and experience the wonderment of canyons, rivers, deserts and mountains less traveled.  When I am in Arizona Wilderness I feel the child come…  I get to play all day.  What a great feeling!

    -Larry Zuiker, Arizona Wilderness Visitor 

    Helping Hands for America’s Lands

    National Public Lands Day (NPLD) began in 1994 and is now the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. For the 20th Anniversary of NPLD, last year 175,000 volunteers and park visitors celebrated at 2,237 public land sites in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. 

    This year, National Public Lands Day is Saturday, September 27, 2014. 

    Almost 2,000 projects are planned for this year’s observance. To find a NPLD event near you visit: and follow us on social media at:

    Historically, several human cultures have tried to carve a living from Ojito’s rugged terrain, rocky soils and scarce water supply. Although several types of ruins exist within the area, including those of the Anasazi, Navajo, and Hispanic cultures, very few historical records exist concerning their lives here.

    Fossil remains of rare dinosaurs, plants and trees have been discovered in the Ojito Wilderness. They are found in the 150 million-year-old Jurassic Age Morrison Formation. Because these fossil remains of plants and animals provide critical information about life during this period, it is very important that they remain undisturbed in place until they can be collected and studied by professional paleontologists. Collection of these fossils is prohibited unless authorized by permit.

    Deep meandering arroyos offer miles of terrain in which to wander. Rock layers in the canyon walls and cliffs enhance sightseeing and photography. Hiking, backpacking, sightseeing and horseback riding, to name a few, can all be enjoyed without a permit in this remote, secluded area. Primitive camping is also allowed, but permits are required for most other uses (for example, outfitting/guiding or commercial filming).

    Learn more:

    Photo by Bob Wick, BLM 

    Steens Mountain Wilderness by Tom Wilcox, BLM Steens Mountain Wilderness by Bob Wick, BLM


    For me, wilderness is a tonic, a retreat from the frenzy of modern life, a refuge to recharge and reconnect. As we celebrate the Wilderness Act’s 50th anniversary, we pause to look back and thank the wilderness champions who came before us. We’ve inherited a monumental blessing. And we’re grateful to all those individuals, organizations, and agencies who continue the important work of strengthening this wilderness legacy and ensuring that these beloved areas are protected and preserved for future generations. — Jerry Perez, BLM Oregon/Washington State Director

    BLM Oregon employees, local residents and visitors enjoy diverse and rugged wilderness areas managed by the BLM, like the Steens Mountain Wilderness pictured here. Photos by Tom Wilcox and Bob Wick, BLM

    Check out what happened Last Week at the BLM, September 8-12, 2014

    Announcements, Events and News

    On September 8, BLM Director Neil Kornze announced the appointment of veteran land manager Timothy Murphy as the BLM’s State Director in Idaho.  Murphy has been acting in the position since August 2013.  Prior to his current assignment, he served as assistant director for fire and aviation at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. Murphy, who has 34-years of public service with the BLM, began his Federal career in 1978 with the U.S. Forest Service as a firefighter on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Read the press release.

    BLM Director Neil Kornze announced on September 11, 2014 that John Ruhs, a native of Iowa, has been selected as the BLM’s State Director in Eastern States, based in Springfield, Virginia.  Ruhs has been acting in the position since January.  Prior to that, he served as BLM’s Senior Special Assistant in Washington, D.C., and District Manager of the BLM’s High Desert District in Wyoming. Starting his career as a Federal grade level 3, Ruhs worked his way up in the BLM in a variety of positions across the country. “John is one of the most seasoned land managers in our organization,” said Director Kornze.  “He has a deep understanding of what it takes to balance public land uses like recreation, energy development, and the protection of wildlife habitat.”  Read the press release.

    Social Media Highlights

    Last week on social media, the BLM continued its month-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Through the act, Congress has designated 221 BLM Wilderness areas encompassing 8.7 million acres, including the 1994 passage of the California Desert Protection Act which created 69 wilderness areas in California. The social media posts on My Public Lands Tumblr and My Public Lands Instagram reflect the beauty and diversity of those lands, managed by the BLM’s National Conservation Lands.

    The BLM last week featured the article Wild Water Conservation! about the South Fork of the Snake River in southeastern Idaho, where the BLM and local partners are conserving this beautiful habitat for wildlife and future generations.  Read Wild Water Conservation! by Jessica Gottlieb in the BLM’s My Public Lands Magazine, Summer 2014.

    Internal News Stories

    BLM Alaska recently celebrated the accomplishments of this year’s University of Alaska Anchorage’s Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) Summer Bridge and University Success Program. The BLM Alaska partners with ANSEP to provide 5 and 12-week internships to students as part of the BLM’s continued commitment to the Department of the Interior’s youth initiative. During the internships, participants gain hands-on work experience and on-the-job training alongside BLM professionals in resource fields, including Mining, Engineering, Geology, Hydrology, Natural and Cultural Resources, and Geographic Information Systems. Read the full story, republished last week externally on My Public Lands Tumblr.



    Skyline Rim near Factory Butte provides incredible, expansive views of the deserts of eastern Utah. The Henry Mountains offer a stout backdrop.

    Photo: Brandon Jolley, BLM Rangeland Management Specialist

    BLM-Colorado Restores and Celebrates Historic San Juan Mountain Mining Town

    Nestled high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the Animas Forks ghost town has been painstakingly restored thanks to BLM-Colorado and a host of partners. Visitors can see remnants of the once thriving town of 30 cabins and a hotel, general store, saloon and post office from the Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway

    The ghost town at Animas Forks, Colorado is just below treeline at 11,800 feet in the Rocky Mountains.

    BLM-Colorado Gunnison and Tres Rios field offices joined partners for the Animas Forks dedication and the Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway 25th anniversary commemoration. The event celebrated the completion of the stabilization and rehabilitation of Animas Forks ghost town and the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway. Both attractions are on BLM-managed lands.

    "Completing the stabilization and restoration of these buildings is the highest honor we could bestow on those first hardscrabble fellows who braved the journey to find the elusive treasures of gold and silver hidden in these rugged mountains," said David Singer, restoration project manager.

    More than 50 people enjoyed the touring the Duncan House during the celebration event. In the 1870s, William Duncan, a hardrock miner, built this house and endured living about 11,000 feet in elevation for a few years.

    BLM staff played key roles in several preservation projects that have recently been completed on the Alpine Loop. Over the past few years, five structures within the this alpine tundra landscape have been stabilized, including the Placer Gulch Boarding House, The Tobasco Cabin, The Golconda Boarding House and Compressor Shop, and the Mayflower Mill. The Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway provides a unique opportunity for exploring the history of the San Juan Mountains mining era, with a focus on the area in the vicinity of Ouray, Silverton and Lake City, Colorado.

    Restored buildings at Animas Forks give the public an opportunity to explore the past while enjoying the incredible views of the alpine tundra.

    The project partners include the Colorado State Historical Fund, Mountain Studies Institute, Klinke & Lew Construction, the BLM, Silverton Restoration Consulting, Hinsdale County Historical Society, HistoriCorps, Silverton Restoration Consulting and Colorado Scenic Byways.

    This panoramic view shows several of the restored building at Animas Forks, a ghost town east of Silverton, Colorado. More than 400,000 visitors enjoy walking tours of the area each year.

    -BLM Colorado 

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