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For immediate release March 30, 2009

Contact: Steven Hall, 303-239-3672
              Denise Adamic, 303-239-3671

President Obama Signs Legislation Designating Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Area

President Obama today signed into law an omnibus lands bill that enhances protection for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management across the West. This bill designates Colorado’s Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area (NCA) and Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Area. 

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar hailed the bill as a “milestone for the stewardship of America’s natural wonders.  This legislation is the product of years of work in hundreds of communities across America, where citizens, elected officials, stakeholders and land managers have forged wise protections for our treasured landscapes that will boost local economies while protecting traditional ways of life.  The conservation areas, wild lands, and open spaces protected through this landmark legislation will be a proud legacy for generations to come.” 

“The Dominguez-Escalante designation has enjoyed support from local communities and local governments, as well as regional and national groups,” BLM Colorado State Director Sally Wisely said. “Approximately 29 miles of the Gunnison River and 21 miles of the Big and Little Dominguez creeks flow through the NCA. This area is one of the real public land treasures in Colorado.”

Nearly 211,000 acres of public lands are within the Dominguez-Escalante NCA, which includes the 66,280-acre Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Area. Long known for their scenic value, these public lands are an increasingly popular destination for those wanting to enjoy the spectacular canyon country of the Uncompahgre Plateau. The newly designated areas join 63 other National Landscape Conservation System areas in Colorado, which were Congressionally or Presidentially selected for their exceptional resource values.

The omnibus bill’s BLM land designations include Wilderness Areas in California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah; four new National Conservation Areas in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah; one new National Monument in New Mexico; and new Wild and Scenic River designations in Idaho, California, and Utah.

The legislation, cleared for the President’s signature after passage by the U.S. House on a 285-140 vote last week, also codifies the BLM’s administratively created National Landscape Conservation System, which consists of 850 federally recognized areas covering 27 million acres of BLM-managed land.

The BLM manages more land – 256 million surface 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, and cultural resources on the public lands.

– BLM –

Editor's Note: For a map of the newly designated area, please click here

Last updated: 04-13-2009