DOINews: Taking the Path Less Traveled — Celebrating 10 Years of the National Landscape Conservation System

Last edited 09/29/2021
The sun, sky, and cliffs — and their reflection in the Upper Missouri River.
The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in central Montana holds a spectacular array of plant life, wildlife, unique geological features, and significant historical and cultural values. See more photos of National Landscape Conservation System lands.

This year, we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of one of America's newest conservation legacies, the National Landscape Conservation System. First established by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt in 2000, and expanded and made permanent under the leadership of President Barack Obama, the 27-million-acre National Landscape Conservation System encompasses some of our nation's most treasured lands and waters.

Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the National Landscape Conservation System is made up of America's national conservation lands. These lands include national monuments, wilderness areas, national conservation areas, wild and scenic rivers, and national scenic and historic trails. From Alaska's rivers and the towering forests of California to the cactus deserts of the Southwest, these are the trails where we hike, ride, and bike; the streams we fish and raft; the woods where we hunt and camp; and the cultural sites that tell America's story.

The BLM oversees an incredible bounty and diversity of resources, but many Americans have yet to discover these great places. Though vast and varied, the areas that make up the National Landscape Conservation System are on the path less traveled.

At the Department of the Interior, our job is to manage and protect these lands for future generations and to balance many uses and values. Our job is also, however, to help Americans reconnect with these special places: to introduce a child to the trails that Pony Express Riders covered a century ago; to take a family back in time with the archaeological treasures of Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument; or to help people hear the desert songbirds of Arizona.

Those are the experiences that shape lives. That is why I hope you will join us in celebrating the 10th anniversary of the National Landscape Conservation System by getting outdoors and exploring your public lands.

Throughout the year, BLM invites you to nationwide events to celebrate and learn more about the National Landscape Conservation System:

So, please join us in taking the paths less traveled. Attend an event, visit your national conservation lands, or choose to volunteer or partner with BLM. Together we will continue to build a great conservation legacy for future generations.

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