Secretary Salazar Dedicates Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, Emphasizes Economic Benefits of BLM's National Landscape Conservation System

Last edited 09/29/2021

GUNNISON RIVER OVERLOOK, CO – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today dedicated the Bureau of Land Management's newest national conservation area, the 210,000-acre Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area spanning three counties in western Colorado.

Secretary Salazar was instrumental in creating the new NCA and Wilderness, designated in legislation passed in March. During his time as a U.S. Senator from Colorado, he worked closely with the local community to craft the legislation to designate the areas in a manner that was supported by all interests.

“The designation of Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area is one of the best examples of grassroots collaboration and local stewardship in our nation, and I am proud I was involved in the effort,” Salazar said. “The National Landscape Conservation System, of which these lands are now a part, includes areas that not only represent the crown jewels of BLM lands, but also serve as economic engines for local communities. The Dominguez-Escalante area, with its rugged desert landscapes and rich culture, is a treasure that we can be proud to protect for future generations.”

The Dominguez-Escalante NCA is the newest addition to BLM's National Landscape Conservation System. The NLCS highlights some of the West's most spectacular public lands. In 2000, the NLCS was created to conserve, protect and restore nationally significant landscapes recognized for their cultural, ecological and scientific values.

About Dominguez-Escalante NCA

The NCA includes nearly 210,000 acres of BLM-managed land, including 66,280 acres set aside as the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness. The NCA and wilderness span three western Colorado counties: Mesa, Delta and Montrose; and were supported by local, regional and national interests for the outstanding resources in the area.

The NCA designation will protect the geologic, historic and cultural sites within it, while allowing the BLM to continue to manage the land for multiple-use recreation and maintaining traditional ranching lifestyles.

The Dominguez Canyon Wilderness provides outstanding hiking and exploring opportunities. It includes scenic canyons and mesas carved in sandstone, and features two cascading streams, waterfalls, spectacular geologic features, ecological diversity and archaeological and paleontological sites. Desert bighorn sheep can be found among the rocks, as can rock art and historic remnants that give hints of the areas ranching roots.

Over the next several years, the BLM Grand Junction and Uncompahgre Field Offices will be developing a resource management plan (RMP) for the NCA and wilderness. The RMP will provide for the long-term protection and management of the area.

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