BLM approves Cottonwood Creek Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Ridgecrest Field Office

Media Contact:

Michelle Van Der Linden
Sign depicting Cottonwood Creek.

RIDGECREST, Calif. — Today, the Bureau of Land Management, in partnership with the Inyo National Forest, approved a comprehensive river management plan and environmental assessment for the Cottonwood Creek Wild and Scenic River in Inyo County. The approved plan outlines the BLM and U.S. Forest Service’s joint management approach for approximately 21 miles of Cottonwood Creek, which was designated by Congress as a Wild and Scenic River in the 2009 Omnibus Public Lands Management Act.

Cottonwood Creek originates in ancient bristlecone forests and is the longest perennial stream east of the White Mountains. It is home to the Paiute cutthroat trout, one of the rarest trout in North America, and while the creek is very remote, it offers numerous opportunities for primitive recreation, including hiking, backpacking, equestrian use, angling, hunting, and bird watching. The BLM and U.S. Forest Service jointly manage Cottonwood Creek, with approximately 17 miles of river managed as a wild river by the U.S. Forest Service and approximately 4 miles managed as recreational river by the BLM.

The Cottonwood Creek Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive River Management Plan incorporates significant public and Tribal input, and focuses on resource protection, compatible land use, maintenance of free-flowing conditions, and water quality. This management plan supports the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of pursuing a collaborative and inclusive approach to conservation.

The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 – which created the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System – protects free-flowing waters, water quality, and outstandingly remarkable values such as wildlife, scenery, recreation, cultural and historical resources, and geology.

The decision record, environmental assessment, and other documents are available on the BLM e-Planning site at:, which links to the Inyo National Forest’s website:

For additional information, please contact the BLM Project Manager, Caroline Woods at

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.