This year marks the 15th anniversary of the creation of the Bureau of Land Management's National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS), better known as the National Conservation Lands in 2000. The mission of the National Conservation Lands is to "conserve, protect, and restore nationally significant landscapes for their outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values for the benefit of current and future generations.
The Conservation System was included in the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, enacting a congressionally authorized and permanent public lands system.
The Bureau of Land Management's National Conservation Lands contain some of the West's most spectacular landscapes. Arizona manages 5 national monuments, 3 national conservation areas, 2 national historic trails, a portion of 1 national scenic trail, 47 wilderness areas and 2 wilderness study areas. These national treasures were designated by Congress or Presidential Proclamation. They include:
NATIONAL MONUMENTS: Areas designated to protect objects of scientific and historic interest by public proclamation by the President, under the Antiquities Act of 1906, or by Congress for objects of historic or scientific interest on public lands, and to provide for the management of those features.
NATIONAL CONSERVATION AREAS: Areas of public lands congressionally designated for conservation, protection, enhancement and management of their resources for the use, benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. These areas hold special natural, recreational, cultural, wildlife, aquatic, archaeological, paleontological, historical and/or scientific values.
NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAILS: These trails are congressionally designated, and follow as closely as possible and practical, to the original trails or routes of travel having national historic significance. The purpose of this designation is to identify and protect historic routes and their remnants and artifacts.
NATIONAL SCENIC TRAIL: These trails are congressionally designated, and are established as regional trails to provide for the conservation and enjoyment of the nationally significant scenic, historic, natural, or cultural qualities of the areas through which such trails may pass.
Congressionally designated, these areas of undeveloped federal land retain their primeval character without permanent improvement or human habitation and are managed to preserve their natural conditions. They offer outstanding opportunities for solitude and may contain ecological, geological or other scientific, scenic or historical values.
NATIONAL WILD AND SCENIC RIVERS: A river, or river section, designated by Congress or the Secretary of the Interior, under the authority of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Acts of 1968, to protect outstanding scenic, recreational and other values, as well as to preserve its free-flowing condition.