BLM Accepts Conservation Easement Protecting City Sculpture

Ely, Nev.—The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today accepted the donation of a 1,316-acre conservation easement on private lands located in southeastern Nevada’s BLM-managed Basin and Range National Monument. 

The easement, which is located in the Garden Valley area near Hiko, Nev., contains a remarkable piece of earth art under development by internationally renowned contemporary artist Michael Heizer.  Simply called City, the massive sculpture measures more than a mile long and a quarter of a mile wide.  It contains earthen mounds and pits, cinder-dyed cement slopes, and geometric cement forms that capture shifting sun and shadows.  Heizer — a pioneer in the earthworks movement — has been working on City since 1972 and anticipates completing it by 2020.

“Michael Heizer’s City is at the heart of Basin and Range National Monument, and its scope and detail are breathtaking. When President Obama asked me to explain it, I said I couldn’t — it simply has to be experienced. Heizer is an artist unlike anyone else, dedicating nearly 50 years of his life to City. Soon, the entire world will get to experience this magnificent sculpture,” said Senator Harry Reid. “I thank the BLM, Triple Aught Foundation and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for working with me to protect this project and preserve the stark beauty of Nevada’s deserts. Because of everyone’s hard work, people will continue to enjoy these wondrous landscapes and City for generations to come.”

The Triple Aught Foundation — a non-profit organization dedicated to owning and displaying Heizer’s work — owns the land on which the sculpture is built. To ensure the long-term protection of the artwork and surrounding area, the foundation initially granted a conservation easement on that land to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the museum subsequently offered to donate the easement to the Department of the Interior, which the BLM officially accepted today. Under the easement agreement, the Triple Aught Foundation will continue to own the fee title to the land and the BLM will have the ability to prevent development that is incompatible with the protection of the artwork and the surrounding area.

“Accepting this conservation easement for this incredible piece of artwork on behalf of the American people helps the Bureau of Land Management continue to protect some of our country's most diverse and magnificent western landscapes," said Janice Schneider, Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management.

"This easement helps ensure the long-term success of the Basin and Range National Monument. We are honored to have a small role in the preservation of this sculpture, which will be a source of inspiration and wonderment for people across Nevada and around the world,” said BLM Director Neil Kornze.

Ongoing agricultural operations on easement lands near City will continue. The Triple Aught Foundation remains responsible for all costs and liabilities related to ownership, operation, upkeep, and maintenance of City and the property; once City is complete, public access will be permitted in a way that safeguards both the artwork and the area’s conservation values.  

For further information, please contact Chris Hanefeld at (775) 289-1842.  Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to leave a message or question with the individual above. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Replies are made during normal business hours.

This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. 

Release Date


Bureau of Land Management


Ely District Office


Chris Hanefeld