Congress Approves First New Land Conservation System in a Generation

Mar 25, 2009

WASHINGTON — Earlier today, Congress approved legislation permanently establishing the National Landscape Conservation System, which will protect and restore the most scenic, ecologically and historically significant lands under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management. The System, the first of its kind in 50 years, consists of National Monuments, National Conservation Areas, Wilderness Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, National Scenic and Historic Trails and other protective designations totaling over 850 sites and 26 million acres.

“I am grateful that Congress has enacted this important legislation. Future generations will look back at this day as a major milestone in our nation’s conservation history,” said William Meadows, President of The Wilderness Society.

The National Landscape Conservation System contains areas of rich archaeological and cultural significance including Canyons of Ancients National Monument in southwest Colorado, and Agua Fria National Monument in Arizona as well as vast wild areas such as Nevada’s Black Rock Desert National Conservation Area and California’s King Range National Conservation Area. The Conservation System protects critical habitat for fish and wildlife, provides access to world-class hunting and fishing, and offers challenging recreation for the self-guided adventurer.

"These places tell the story of America — and now, thanks to a concerted effort by many people, their future is more secure. That's good news for everybody," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

“Even as a passionate supporter and regular visitor to our National Parks and Wilderness Areas, I was unaware that an enormous number of our nation’s wildest and most historically significant public lands were outside this network, poorly managed and under threat,” said Edward Norton, actor, conservationist, and National Conservation System Foundation Board Member. “By permanently approving the National Landscape Conservation System, Congress has ensured that these irreplaceable natural treasures will receive the protection they deserve.”

Other federal land management agencies already oversee land conservation systems, including the National Park System and the National Wildlife Refuge System. By approving legislation establishing the National Landscape Conservation System, Congress has entrusted the Bureau of Land Management with protecting the United States’ newest land conservation system.

“Each generation leaves a legacy to future generations,” said Stewart Udall, former U.S. Secretary of the Interior. “This is right at the heart of the National Landscape Conservation System.”

For more information, please visit The Conservation System Alliance website.

The Conservation System Alliance is a coalition of eighty conservation, historic preservation, faith-based, recreation, business, education and place-based friends groups representing millions of Americans nationwide. The Conservation System Alliance aims to protect, restore and expand the National Landscape Conservation System by making it permanent, well-funded, well-managed, and inclusive of the best natural and cultural resources under the Bureau of Land Management’s care.