This year marks the 15th anniversary of the creation of the Bureau of Land Management's National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS), better known as the National Conservation Lands, in 2000. The mission of the National Conservation Lands is to "conserve, protect, and restore nationally significant landscapes for their outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values for the benefit of current and future generations.

The Conservation System was established in the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, enacting as a congressionally authorized and permanent public lands system.

The Bureau of Land Management's National Conservation Lands contain some of the West's most spectacular landscapes. Arizona manages 5 national monuments, 3 national conservation areas, portions of 2 national historic trails, a portion of 1 national scenic trail, 47 wilderness areas and 2 wilderness study areas. These national treasures were designated by Congress or Presidential Proclamation.

NATIONAL CONSERVATION AREAS: Areas of public lands congressionally designated for conservation, protection, enhancement and management of their resources for the use, benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. These areas hold special natural, recreational, cultural, wildlife, aquatic, archaeological, paleontological, historical and/or scientific values.

Featured National Conservation Area: San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area

Scenic photo of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.

The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (NCA) contains nearly 57,000 acres of public land in Cochise County, Arizona, between the international border and St. David, Arizona. The riparian area, where some 40 miles of the upper San Pedro River meanders, was designated by Congress as a Riparian National Conservation Area on November 18, 1988. The primary purpose for the special designation is to protect and enhance the desert riparian ecosystem, a rare remnant of what was once an extensive network of similar riparian systems throughout the American Southwest. One of the most important riparian areas in the United States, the San Pedro River runs through the Chihuahuan Desert and the Sonoran Desert in southeastern Arizona. The river’s stretch is home to more than 80 species of mammals, two native species and several introduced species of fish, more than 40 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 100 species of breeding birds. It also provides invaluable habitat for 250 species of migrant and wintering birds and contains archaeological sites representing the remains of human occupation from 13,000 years ago.

All Arizona National Conservation Areas

All Arizona national conservation areas are below.