McInnis Canyons National Conservation area is part of the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS). This system of lands was established in the year 2000 by Interior Secretary Babbitt and codified in Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (PL 111-11). This system encompasses approximately 27 million acres of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). These lands are recognized for their outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values.
Science in National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) units is defined broadly as ‘including basic and applied research in natural and social science, as well as inventory and monitoring initiatives’ (BLM NLCS Science Strategy 2007). In addition, within NLCS units there is an expectation for ‘identifying science needed to address management issues, communicating those needs to science providers, and incorporating the results into the decision making process’ (BLM Science Strategy 2007).
McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area was created to conserve, protect, and enhance ‘the areas making up the Black Ridge and Ruby Canyons of the Grand Valley and Rabbit Valley, which contain unique and valuable scenic, recreational, multiple use opportunities (including grazing), paleontological, natural, and wildlife components enhanced by the rural western setting of the area, provide extensive opportunities for recreational activities, and are publicly used for hiking, camping, and grazing, and are worthy of additional protection as a national conservation area’. In addition the act creating this conservation area served to ‘conserve, protect, and enhance for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations the unique and nationally important values of the public lands described in section 4(b), including geological, cultural, paleontological, natural, scientific, recreational, environmental, biological, wilderness, wildlife education, and scenic resources of such public lands, by establishing the Colorado Canyons National Conservation Area and the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness in the State of Colorado. Scientific efforts within MCNCA support this designation.