My Public Lands

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    This week, the Trust for Public Land donated nearly 6,000 acres of stunning coastal landscape in Santa Cruz County, California, that will now be managed by the BLM for public recreation and preservation of natural resources. Known as Coast Dairies land, the donation completes a long-term effort by partners and local communities to provide a natural landscape that can be experienced and enjoyed as public lands. 

    BLM lands will connect the Coast Dairies shoreline beach, recently donated to California State Parks, to the Santa Cruz Mountains east of Highway 1. The landscape includes stunning coastal terraces, rolling pastoral grasslands, oak woodlands and redwood forest. Come #DiscoverTheCoast.

    Photos by Jim Pickering, BLM

    It’s #ThrowbackThursday and with everyone looking up at the sky this week, we thought we’d share this shot of a sunburst taken over the Tumco historic town site. The Rigg’s house is one of the few remaining structures of an early 19th century gold mining town. This ghost town is located in the Cargo Muchacho Mountains, just east of BLM’s Imperial Sand Dunes, California.

    Photo: David Zielinski

    Bistahieversor - aka the ‘Bisti Beast’ – Goes to Washington

    The BLM New Mexico’s regional paleontologist recently packed a Penske truck and took off for Washington D.C. The truck was filled with the most complete specimen of large carnivorous dinosaur ever found in the state of New Mexico — and it was found on BLM-administered land in the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area.

    The Bistahieversor—affectionately known as the Bisti Beast—was a 30-foot tyrannosaur that roamed the Earth around 74 million years ago. It was a member of the same family as Tyrannosaurus rex, looked like a compact version of T.rex, and might have been one of its ancestors. This was an extremely rare find and is of exceptionally high scientific value. It is estimated that 40 to 60 percent of the skeleton was preserved.

    The 41,170-acre wilderness area is a rolling landscape of badlands which offers some of the most unusual scenery found in the Four Corners Region. The wilderness area is composed of formations of interbedded sandstone, shale, mudstone, coal, and silt. Paleontologists have studied and researched this area for nearly a century. The Badlands feature an exposure of rocks known as the Fruitland/Kirtland Formations that represent a time near the end of the Cretaceous Period (approximately 75 to 80 million years ago). These continental sediments chronicle the time near the end of the Age of Dinosaurs. This sequence of rock formations is one of only four known in the world that record this transition and may help explain why the dinosaurs became extinct.

    In 1998, the specimen was removed in two pieces after being encased in a protective plaster “jacket,” each weighing nearly a ton. Because the skeleton was located in a wilderness area, it was removed by Army National Guard helicopter and deposited on a large flatbed trailer for transport to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, in Albuquerque, N.M., where is has been housed ever since.

    BLM and New Mexico Museum of Natural History staff packed the specimen for the three-day road trip to Washington, D.C., where it will be on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

    "My favorite classroom has no walls: the great outdoors." -Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell

    Check out this video of Secretary Jewell discussing the outdoors as an ideal environmental education classroom.  Great message during National Environmental Education Week!

    The cherry blossoms have arrived on your public lands in Washington, DC.  Get outside and enjoy!

    Learn more about the history of the cherry trees here:

    It’s Wednesday here on My Public Lands — which means that it’s Wilderness Wednesday in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Today, we share brand new photos from the field of one of our most beautiful wilderness areas.   

    Arguably some of the planet’s most unique and spectacular geologic features are the narrow slot canyons of the Colorado Plateau — and the grand-daddy of them all is Buckskin Gulch in the BLM-managed Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness/National Monument.  Straddling the Utah/Arizona border, this 13 mile long canyon is 400 feet deep and sometimes as narrow as six feet — not just at the bottom but all the way up to the canyon rims (thus the name “slot”).  In places you can’t see the sky when looking up; only the sun’s indirect glow bouncing off the scalloped rock walls & creating an ever-changing colorful tapestry. Logs wedged between the narrow walls 20-30 feet above the stream-bed are a reminder to avoid the area during the summer monsoon, when flash floods combined with no escape routes make the canyon unsafe for hiking.

    When combined with the main stem of the Paria River, this 40 mile hike offers an extended backpack. 

    Check it out at:

    Last night’s blood moon as viewed along the American Wild and Scenic River in California, one of the few urban rivers in the U.S. to have a wild and scenic designation. The river flows from the Sierra crest to downtown Sacramento.  The BLM manages segments of the North and South forks of the river which are popular for whitewater boating and gold panning.  BLM photo.

    Plan your visit at:

    Happy Environmental Education Week!  

    Throughout the week, we’ll share stories of employees and interns, volunteers and partners, who work in BLM STEM fields - that’s science, technology, engineering and math.  We’ll take a look at their work on the ground now and the education and experiences that led them to natural resources careers.

    Today, we share Evolution of a Biologist by Tim Carrigan.  Tim is a wildlife biologist on the Renewable Energy Team in the BLM Idaho State Office.  He was also the assistant field manager of the Bruneau Field Office and a wildlife biologist in the Boise District.  Prior to serving in the Army from 1985 to 1990, Tim was a range conservationist in Salmon, Idaho.

    "A photograph of a young boy staring eye-to-eye with a frog adorns the cover of Richard Louv’s 2005 bestseller ‘Last Child in the Woods.’  That boy could very well have been me 50 years ago in Minnesota where frogs were the most abundant and the easiest to catch wildlife.  My love of nature began there and continued as I moved to Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay area, an area unparalleled in America for richness and diversity of wildlife, especially herptiles, a group of animals made up of reptiles and amphibians.  It was these early encounters with animals and the outdoors that inspired me to study wildlife management in college and go on to become a wildlife biologist for the BLM."

    Read Tim’s full story on the BLM’s history website.

    LAST WEEK AT THE BLM: APRIL 7-11, 2014

    Announcements, Events, and News

    · On April 8, 2014, Neil Kornze was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the BLM Director. Kornze has led the BLM since March 1, 2013, as Principal Deputy Director, overseeing its conservation, outdoor recreation and energy development programs. Prior to this role, Kornze served as the BLM’s Acting Deputy Director for Policy and Programs since October 2011. BLM Director Kornze was sworn in by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell on April 11, 2014.  Read the press release.

    · To advance landscape-scale, science-based management of America’s public lands and wildlife, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell on April 10, 2014, released a strategy to implement mitigation policies and practices at the Department that can more effectively encourage infrastructure development while protecting natural and cultural resources. Read the press release.

    · The Defenders of Wildlife Endangered Species Act Policy White Paper Series last week recognized the BLM’s Recovery Fund Initiative as one of three initiatives successfully promoting pragmatic and innovative solutions in meeting recovery goals and ultimately relieving the imperilment of federally listed species. Read the white paper, “Aiming to Succeed: Targeting funds to enhance endangered species recovery.”

    Social Media Highlights

    · In fiscal year 2013, over 30,000 volunteers contributed more than 1.15 million hours of service to the BLM. That time and energy is valued at $26 million (using the Independent Sector’s figure of $22.15 an hour for volunteer service) and is equivalent to 641 work years. This is a 22:1 return on investment on funds expended in BLM’s volunteer program. Last week, the BLM celebrated National Volunteer Week with a series of volunteer stories on the My Public Lands Tumblr.

    BLM Daily (Internal News) Top Stories

    ·When the BLM’s Central Montana District Manager Stan Benes needed help clearing dangerous branches and trees at the remote Missouri River Campground, he found some uniquely qualified volunteers to do the job:  the Missoula Smokejumpers.  Led by 20-year veteran smokejumper and arbor specialist Boyd Burtch, the smokejumpers and BLM staff cleared nearly every tree of hazards. Read the story on the My Public Lands Tumblr

    BLM Wyoming Assistant Field Manager Mike Phillips has received the prestigious Trail Boss Award from the Society for Range Management. Outgoing and incoming Northwest Council Representatives for the Wyoming Section of the SRM, Ray Gullion and Katie Schade, presented the award at a ceremony on March 21 at the BLM Worland Field Office.  Read Mike’s story on the Department of the Interior’s web site, stories from the field.


    View of Hideaway campsite and the Missouri River. Smokejumper Issac Karuzas and BLM River Ranger Joe Lyon prepare to remove tree hazards at Hideaway Campground on the Upper Missouri River. Smokejumper Team Leader Boyd Burtch in the tree tops, left. Smokejumper Colby Jackson, right.

    Missoula Smokejumpers Volunteer for Hazard Tree Clean-up at Missouri River Campground 

    When Central Montana District Manager Stan Benes needed help with clearing dangerous branches and trees at a remote campsite, he found some uniquely qualified volunteers to do the job. 

    Monument Manager Mike Kania coordinated the plan for early September. Supervisory Outdoor Recreation Planner Mark Schaefer and River Ranger Joe Lyon met the group and transported them by jet boat to Hideaway river boat camp. 

    The smokejumpers surveyed the site with a critical eye. The small campground, only accessible by the river, was heavily forested with cottonwoods reaching as high as 60 feet. Nearly every tree in the grove had numerous dead and dying limbs at every level. It was these “widow makers” and the hazards they create for recreational users that got the smokejumpers’ attention. 

    Led by 20-year veteran smokejumper and arbor specialist Boyd Burtch, the crew wasted no time in “gearing up” and scrambling expertly into the treetops. Working throughout the day and most of the next, the smokejumpers, with the help of the BLM staff, cleared nearly every tree of hazards. Several trees that proved to be severely dangerous were expertly felled, limbed and bucked into convenient campfire-sized pieces along with the dropped widow makers, then neatly stacked at various locations for public use. 

    "These guys are consummate professionals," commented Schaefer. "Joe and I are honored to be in their presence and to assist them in their effort to help us out. Knowing what they do in their primary mission, and having them volunteer to come out here and help us on their "down time" is indicative of the caliber of people we know as smokejumpers. The extraordinary professionalism, positive attitude, competence and sheer guts it takes to do work like this is highly impressive and I look forward to continuing this partnership in the coming seasons." 

    Considering the number of remote campsites along the river with similar issues, the success of this first mission may be the precursor for many more to come. 

    -Mark Schaefer, Supervisory Outdoor Recreation Planner for the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument 

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