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Bureau of Land Management

story and photos by Benjamin Cossel, Bureau of Land Management

A firefighter with the Folsom Lake Veteran’s Crew sets a controlled burn at the Cosumnes River Preserve, May 5, 2021

GALT, California — Across the American West, the relationship between fire and the humans who call the landscape home is a complicated one. On the one hand, fire is often a catastrophic force ravaging across an area, destroying everything in its wake without prejudice. On the other, fire is a tool for fuels reduction and habitat restoration, especially in those places where native flora and fauna have, through centuries of evolution, adapted.


Nada Wolff Culver, Deputy Director, Programs and Policy, Bureau of Land Management

Today, the Biden-Harris administration announced its vision for how the United States can work collaboratively to conserve and restore the lands, waters, and wildlife that support and sustain the nation as the “America the Beautiful” initiative.


by Greg Shine, gshine@blm.gov, Greg Shine

High in the Cascade Siskiyou Mountains of southern Oregon, Buck Rock Tunnel sits silently, connecting past to present.

It wasn’t always so.

The railroad tunnel was never fully excavated by its cadre of Chinese workers in the early 1880s, and it never witnessed a single locomotive before it was abandoned in 1887 and largely lost to public memory.

BLM Forester Mark Lawrence outside Buck Rock Tunnel’s east portal, 1971. BLM photo.

Fifty-five years after its rediscovery, it now serves as an important connector, in a way perhaps unfathomable to its designing engineers.

The key? Archaeology.

Today, Buck Rock Tunnel is emerging as an important link in the…


Heather Feeney, Bureau of Land Management

The Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) is an amazing tree — what ecologists call a keystone and foundation species. Its roots stabilize rocky soils at the snowy, windswept 6,000- to 12,000-foot elevations where it grows, and its large, high-protein seeds feed several bird and mammal species — nuthatches, squirrels, black bears, grizzly bears and red foxes.

Cooked in hot ashes, roasted, mixed with serviceberries or ground into a mush, the seeds are also a traditional food source for Native American and First Nation people in the U.S. and Canada.


BLM New Mexico

The endless hills covered in desert vegetation and rock disappearing into the distance. Photo by Daniella Barraza, BLM Las Cruces District Office.

The SST Trail is just over the Rio Grande, 10 minutes away from the nearest gas station and local elementary school in the Chihuahua Desert of southern New Mexico. You would not believe this as you hike, mountain bike, or go horseback riding on this 6-mile trail. The crowds are sparse. You’re more likely to encounter cows roaming the trail than another visitor. It is located within Prehistoric Trackways National Monument, in the Robledo Mountains, and surrounded by Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument and the Robledo Mountains Wilderness Area.


On our birthday, a land of plenty glows for all

Derrick Henry, Bureau of Land Management

Dawn kindled the jagged horizon, scooping purple and gold onto the landscape. Birdsong polished the air. Soon, the sky’s glittered cape vaporized to the thrill of a local resident who had waited for hours. A pleasant July morning on public land. Elsewhere, people woke and switched on appliances and checked their charged devices. Sunrise solitude, the thousands of people waking to reliable power — and many other things — were linked by the Bureau of Land Management’s 75-year stewardship of a land streaked with blessings.


Chris Hanefeld, Public Affairs Specialist. Photos by Kellie Dobrescu.

Mastication allows for the removal of the encroaching pinyon-juniper without damaging adjacent species, such as mountain mahogany. The resulting biomass will serve as mulch for grass and forb seed applied aerially in January.

The BLM is masticating, or mechanically shredding pinyon-pine and juniper to re-establish sagebrush communities, improve wildlife habitat and reduce fire potential on 450 acres of recently seeded public land in White Pine County, Nev.

“We chose mastication because it allows us to remove the encroaching trees without damaging adjacent species, such as mountain mahogany. Also, the resulting biomass will serve as mulch for seed we applied earlier this year,” said Cody Coombs, BLM Ely District fuels program manager.

The fuels program in January aerially distributed 4,400 pounds of seed over the…


Heather Feeney, Bureau of Land Management

Members of the Bigfork Cave Club, the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto and BLM & U.S. Forest Service staff at the entrance to a cave in the Pryor Mountains of south-central Montana. Hans Bodenhamer (center, in red jacket), science instructor and leader of the Bigfork cave club, is a nationally recognized expert in cave mapping, ensuring that his students’ data collections meet National Speleological Society standards and agency needs.

In past decades science has been a process of exploration, of being the first to venture to remote, extreme or exotic places, or to unlock the hidden workings of nature.

In our time, more than 100 feet below a Montana mountain range, citizen scientists are questing for knowledge with an added responsibility — helping protect and conserve the beautiful natural places they explore.

Professional scientists — mainly archaeologists — took an interest in the caves of the Pryor Mountains in the 1930s and 40s to investigate the formations’ place in the lives of Montana’s…


Bureau of Land Management — Montana/Dakotas

The Bureau of Land Management — South Dakota Field Office manages approximately 6,700 acres of the original Fort Meade Military Reservation just east of Sturgis, South Dakota. Established in the 1870s, it was a peacekeeping post in the region between Fort Laramie (Wyoming) and existing forts in Montana. Fort Meade has been the home of nearly every cavalry regiment in the U.S. Army. …


Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States

The Potomac River doesn’t just pour out of Washington DC and head straight for the Chesapeake. It has to bend around the Nanjemoy peninsula which juts out of Maryland like a big bulbous nose. Not a lot of people live here, and that makes it beautiful.

The Douglas Point Recreation Area in Charles County, Maryland offers 3 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding, hunting, and mountain biking. This also includes 548 acres of hardwood forest and marshes, picnicking, Potomac River shoreline, universally accessible historical interpretative walk, and hunting blind. …

Bureau of Land Management

The BLM manages one in every 10 acres of land in the United States, and approximately 30 percent of the Nation’s minerals.

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