WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today joined Wilma Lewis, assistant secretary for land and minerals management, and Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey in launching a national year-long celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS).
“The establishment of the National Landscape Conservation System was a major step forward in recognizing lands of exceptional beauty, historical value, and cultural significance that are under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management,” said Secretary Salazar. “Through effective, forward-looking stewardship, the BLM will protect and preserve these treasured landscapes as a legacy for the American people."
“In the ten years that have passed, the people have truly shown that these lands belong to them – their tireless efforts prove their passion,” said BLM Director Bob Abbey. “From advisory councils and committees to friends groups and individuals who simply care enough to volunteer their free time, the NLCS has inspired thousands to embrace public lands stewardship as never before.”
More than 90 events across the country marking the 10th Anniversary will focus on celebrating a decade of accomplishments and discoveries while setting goals for the next ten years. The NLCS is managed for science and conservation under the BLM’s multiple-use mandate, yet to many, it represents immense backyards abounding in recreational opportunities, remoteness, and solitude. Going forward, the BLM will continue to balance these interests while managing lands within the NLCS to conserve, protect, and restore their extraordinary resources.
The NLCS was created by the Secretary of the Interior in 2000 to manage the BLM’s specially designated conservation areas. The 27-million acre NLCS is composed of 880 units that include national monuments, national conservation areas, wilderness and wilderness study areas, wild and scenic rivers, national scenic and historic trails, and conservation lands of the California Desert. In March 2009, Congress passed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, providing a statutory basis for the NLCS.
The past decade of accomplishments could not have been achieved without the help of hundreds of volunteers, working thousands of hours—more than 430,000 in 2009 alone. These volunteers sacrifice their free time to work closely with BLM staff on improving the public lands they love. By working with gateway communities and local partners, the BLM is able to expand interpretive and educational services, and resource restoration and protection.
BLM resource advisory councils, NLCS advisory committees, friends groups, and other partnerships are critical to the BLM in carrying out its conservation vision and priority programs for the NLCS. In celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the NLCS, the BLM salutes these important volunteers and partners. To find out more about NLCS 10th Anniversary events scheduled near you, go to http://www.blm.gov and select “What We Do,” then “National Landscape Conservation System.”
The BLM manages more land – 253 million acres – than any other federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 western states, including Alaska. The bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation.
The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.