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National Conservation Areas and Similarly Designated Lands

National conservation areas (NCAs) and similarly designated lands are designated by Congress to conserve, protect, enhance, and manage public lands for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau of Land Management's National Conservation Lands include 16 NCAs and five similarly designated lands in ten states. These lands feature exceptional scientific, cultural, ecological, historical, and recreational values. They differ tremendously in landscape and size, varying from the coastal beauty of California's 18-acre Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area to the rugged desert vistas of Nevada's 1.2 million acre Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails NCA. 

The Bureau of Land Managment's NCAs are listed below by state. Further information on the six similarly designated units can be found here.


Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Area
National Conservation Lands
Las Cienegas National Conservation Area - Photo by Bob Wick
Las Cienegas National Conservation Area - Photo by Bob Wick

Alaska | Arizona | California | Colorado | Idaho | Nevada | New Mexico  


Alaska

 

 Steese National Conservation Area - Fortymile Caribou Herd
Steese, a 1,220,000-acre national conservation area designated by Congress in 1980, includes the Birch Creek Wild and Scenic River, wildlife habitat, and diverse recreational opportunities. Alpine tundra, tussocks, and boreal forest provide crucial caribou calving grounds and home range, as well as habitat for moose, grizzly and black bear, and Peregrine falcons.
 

Arizona

 
 Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area

Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area   
Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area was designated by Congress in 1990. This 21,767-acre cool desert oasis features Bonita Creek (popular for birding and picnicking), cliff dwellings, historic homesteads, bighorn sheep, and more than 200 species of birds.   
 

 Las Cienegas National Conservation Area - Photo by Bob Wick, BLM
Las Cienegas National Conservation Area was designated by Congress in 2000. These 42,000 acres of scenic landscape include vast desert grasslands and rolling oak-studded hills. The area is home to a great diversity of plant and animal life, including several threatened or endangered species.  
 
 San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area
San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area was designated by Congress in 1988. The 58,000-acre area supports over 350 species of birds, 80 species of mammals, and 40 species of amphibians and reptiles.
 

California

 
 King Range National Conservation Area - Bob Wick
King Range National Conservation Area was designated by Congress in 1970. This 60,000-acre area encompasses 35 miles of remote coastline known as California’s Lost Coast. The mountains are a mix of Douglas-fir forest, chaparral, and grassland, providing habitat for blacktailed deer, elk, black bear, and nearly 300 species of native and migratory birds.
 

Colorado

 
 Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area - Photo by Bob Wick, BLMDominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area
Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, located in west central Colorado, was designated by Congress in 2009.  The 209,610-acre area features petroglyphs, waterfalls, and red sandstone canyons and cliffs. It also encompasses a 66,000-acre wilderness area.  
 Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area - Photo by Jerry Sinz
Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area was designated by Congress in 1999. This 57,727-acre area offers a variety of natural and geologic features and unsurpassed recreational opportunities.
 
 McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area
Located in west central Colorado, the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area was designated by Congress in 2000. It encompasses 122,300 acres, including 75,550 acres of wilderness. This area is remarkable for its diverse landscape, ranging from salt bush desert to the spectacular canyons of the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness.
 

Idaho

 
 Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area
Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area was designated by Congress in 1993. This 484,873-acre area is home to the largest concentration of nesting raptors in North America and is located only 35 miles south of Boise, Idaho.
 

Nevada

 
 Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area - Photo by Bob Wick, BLM
Designated in 2000, the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area encompases nearly 1.2 million acres of public lands in northwestern Nevada. The landscape features historic  wagon ruts and inscriptions and a wilderness landscape largely unchanged from when pioneers moved westward in the 1800s. 
 
 Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area was designated by Congress in 1990. This 195,610-acre area encompasses unique geologic features and spectacular landscapes, as well as world-class climbing and hiking opportunities. It also provides habitat to plant and animal species that are unique to the Mojave Desert,.
 
 Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area
The Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area is managed to conserve, protect, and enhance the cultural, archaeological, natural, wilderness, scientific, geological, historical, biological, wildlife, educational, and scenic resources of this area. Established in 2002, the Conservation Area encompasses approximately 48,000 acres. The area features significant archaeological sites, scenic vistas, important wildlife habitat, and opportunities for primitive recreation.
 

New Mexico

 
 El Malpais National Conservation Area

El Malpais National Conservation Area 
El Malpais National Conservation Area was designated by Congress in 1987. This 262,100-acre area features rugged lava flows with some of the Nation’s most significant geological, cultural, scenic, scientific, and wilderness resources

 

 Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area

Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area 
The Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area, located in south central New Mexico, was designated by Congress in 2009.  The 24,950-acre area includes the subterranean cave resources of the Fort Stanton - Snowy River cave system, which is the 3rd longest cave in New Mexico. The surface landscape includes rolling hills, mesas, streams, grasslands, and ponderosa pine forest habitats.

Utah

 
 Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Area - Bob Wick

Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Area 
The Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Area, located in southwestern Utah, was designated by Congress in 2009.  This 68,083-acre area is in the transition zone between the Colorado Plateau,  Great Basin, and Mojave Desert ecosystems and hosts a rich array of plant communities and wildlife. Visitors enjoy activities such as  hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing.

 

 Red Cliffs National Conservation Area - Bob WickRed Cliffs National Conservation Area 
Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, located in southwestern Utah, was designated by Congress in 2009. This 44,725-acre area provides important habitat to threatened desert tortoise and other species of concern.  The Conservation Area's 130 miles of non-motorized trails provide world-class recreational opportunities while protecting crucial habitat.

Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area - Photo by Bob Wick

Electronic/Online Resources:

Map of National Monuments, National Conservation Areas and Similarly Designated Lands

Detail Table - NCAs and similarly designated lands  (PDF) - Shows acreages