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Jason Vlcan leading tour at Independence Rock.

Jason Vlcan leading tour at Independence Rock.

Group Photo at Independence Rock.

Group Photo at Independence Rock.

April Whitten with her book.

April Whitten with her book.

Taking the Path Less Traveled: The NHTIC Celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the National Landscape Conservation System with a Guided Hike and Special Program

By Alex Rose & Jason Vlcan, Visitor Information Assistants, NHTIC & Lesley Collins, Public Affairs Specialist, High Plains District Office 

Over 40 people showed up to help the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) National Historic Trails Center (NHTIC) celebrated the 10th anniversary of the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS). Festivities included a guided hike at Independence Rock and a special afternoon program at the NHTIC.

The BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System contains some of the West’s most spectacular landscapes. The NLCS includes wilderness areas, conservation areas, wilderness study areas, 16 national monuments and thousands of miles of scenic and national historic trails.

“These are places that spark the imagination,” said Trails Center Director Mike Abel. “Their spacious beauty has drawn people to the West for generations. The NLCS sustains for the future, and for everyone, these remarkable landscapes of the American people.”

The Trails Center celebrated the anniversary with the following activities:

  • July 11, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Guided Hike: A Day at the Rock

    Independence Rock was the beacon in the desert for adventurers, explorers, fur traders and emigrants. This granite monolith is one of the most famous landmarks along the historic pioneer trails.

    BLM interpreter Jason Vlcan presented a program that includes the sharing of pioneer diary and journal entries. He discussed the experiences of the pioneers when they passed this landmark over 150 years ago. Vlcan also lead a guided hike as the group searched for names of emigrants who carved their names and dates into rock.

  • July 11, 3 p.m., NHTIC program: Taking the Path Less Traveled: A Modern Day Pioneer on our Historic Trails

    April Whitten can relate to the experiences of emigrants on our historic trails like few others. In 1999, she joined a wagon train and traveled from Nebraska to California, walking most of the way.

    Her responsibilities included gathering terrain, location, weather and environmental data, and documenting her journey through journals and photographs. Her journey was funded by the National Park Service.

    During her travels, she maintained detailed journals and took thousands of photographs. Whitten presented a one-hour program about her journey. She also discussed the importance of protecting and preserving the remaining traces of our historic trails. .

    Whitten, of Applegate, Ore., is a geoarcheologist, and her research focuses on migratory routes and historic trails. She is author of, “Are We There? And Lessons Learned Along the Way."



The NHTIC is a part of the BLM's National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS). The areas of the NLCS are specifically designed to conserve, protect and restore the exceptional scientific, natural, cultural, ecological, historical and recreation values of these treasured landscapes.



The NHTIC is a public-private partnership between the BLM and the National Historic Trails Center Foundation. The facility is located at 1501 N. Poplar Street, Casper, Wyo. The Center is currently operating on summer hours and is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Last updated: 08-17-2010