Lands as diverse as red-rock deserts and dynamic ocean coastlines, scenic river canyons and open Alaskan tundra form part of the National Landscape Conservation System in the western United States. The System includes national monuments, conservation and wilderness study areas, wild and scenic rivers, National Scenic and Historic Trails, and the Conservation Lands of the California Desert. Altogether, it covers over 27 million acres, including 886 federally recognized areas in 12 Western states.
The Conservation System’s lands are conserved, protected, and restored with the goal of having them remain for present and future generations. Some lands are home to endangered species or the lands are the remnants of what once was wild. Detailed information about the lands in each western state can be found online.
The System is celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2010. This week in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Decade of Discovery Science Symposium is happening. Diverse presentations, poster sessions, panels and field trips are occurring as a decade of NLCS research is celebrated. Topics range from discovering dinosaur fossil areas, to restoring native plant populations, and involving citizens in science on the public lands.
Events are also happening at some of the System’s lands. An online calendar shows the events, including patio talks and some 3D photographic education material (eg. New Mexico State Fair in September).
Many of the treasured landscapes within the NLCS are popular tourism destinations, so thousands of tourists will enjoy the events this year. Check out their website in case you travel near one of their sites this year and can join in the fun.