clear blue lake on clear sky day with snow capped mountain on the other side of the blue water

National Conservation Lands

The BLM's twenty year old National Conservation Lands currently includes 905 units covering over 37 million acres designated by Congress and the President to conserve special features, from winding rivers to mountain vistas. The National Conservation Lands offer the American people exceptional opportunities for hunting, solitude, wildlife viewing, fishing, history exploration, scientific research and a wide range of traditional uses. The BLM manages these public lands for the benefit of current and future generations, supporting conservation as a part of the BLM's multiple-use and sustained yield mission. This means respecting the ties that native and traditional communities have to public lands, as well as being welcoming of diverse interests and uses.

The BLM’s National Conservation Lands include beautiful and diverse national monuments in nine western states. The Antiquities Act of 1906 grants the President authority to designate national monuments to protect “objects of historic or scientific interest.” While the President establishes most national monuments, Congress occasionally establishes national monuments to protect certain natural or historic features.

Avi Kwa Ame National Monument Pictured
Joshua Trees and other native plants in the newly established Avi Kwa Ame National Monument.
Congress designates National Conservation Areas (NCAs) and similar lands to conserve, protect, enhance and manage public lands for present and future generations. BLM's National Conservation Lands encompass 19 NCAs and six similar areas in 10 states, providing significant scientific, cultural, ecological, historical, and recreational value.

Red Rock Canyon NCA Pictured
Image of red rock and snow-covered mountains in the Red Cliffs National Area. Photo by John Kellam/BLM
President Lyndon Johnson's 1965 speech on "Conservation and Preservation of Natural Beauty" sparked a movement, leading to Congress establishing the National Trails System Act in 1968. The Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails became the first congressionally designated National Trails. Currently, there are 30 such trails, many accessible within an hour's drive from urban areas.

Nez Perce NHT Pictured
Nez Perce Trail arrow ck BLM Bob Wick
Signed in 1968, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act protects more than 200 rivers in 40 states and Puerto Rico. Wild and Scenic Rivers are designated into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System to preserve their free-flowing condition and to protect and enhance their outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish, wildlife, historic, cultural, and other similar values.

Bruneau Wild and Scenic River Pictured
Water flowing in the Bruneau Wild and Scenic River. Photo by Bob Wick.
The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for 263 wilderness areas and 487 wilderness study areas in the western States and Alaska. From primitive hunting locations to remote fishing spots, wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas provide unparalleled opportunities for spending time outdoors.

Eagle Tail Wilderness Pictured
The Eagletail Mountains Wilderness in Arizona, with a cloudy horizon in the background and mountains in the foreground.

15-Year Strategy

Primarily located in the West, the BLM’s National Conservation Lands represent some of the West’s most spectacular landscapes. They provide abundant recreational opportunities, important scientific research grounds, and outstanding ecological and cultural resources.

Learn more about the 15-Year Strategy

Maps and Data

Maps reveal the breadth and diversity of the National Conservation Lands.

 Learn more about national-level maps and data

Scientific Research

National Conservation Lands comprise a natural scientific laboratory that attracts scientists from around the world.  The scientific values found within many National Conservation Lands units open the door to valuable research on topics ranging from geology, paleontology, archaeology and history to biology, botany and ecosystem studies.

Careers in Demand: Biological Sciences

Learn more about Scientific Research on BLM managed lands