Grijalva Conservation System Bill Passes Natural Resources Committee
Washington, D.C. – Legislation to create the nation’s newest public lands system, the National Landscape Conservation System, was approved by the Committee on Natural Resources today.
The National Landscape Conservation System Act (H.R. 2016) now awaits consideration by the full House.
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, introduced the bill, which would codify the National Landscape Conservation System within the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
The National Landscape Conservation System was established administratively in 2000 by then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt to recognize and protect the best of the lands and waters managed by the BLM, but the system has never been official sanctioned by Congress. The purpose of H.R. 2016 is to provide the permanence and stature that accompany formal Congressional authorization.
“The National Landscape Conservation System represents the crown jewels of our public lands,” said Chairman Grijalva. “Congressional authorization will generate awareness and recognition for this amazing collection of Western public lands. While this legislation will not change management of any particular unit of the System on the ground, it will put these places on the map to citizens of our country who may have no idea these places exist.”
In Arizona, the areas included in the NLCS are:
Agua Fria National Monument
Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument
Ironwood Forest National Monument
Sonoran Desert National Monument
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area
Las Cienegas National Conservation Area
San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area
Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail
47 Wilderness Areas
2 Wilderness Study Areas
Unlike the National Parks and the National Wildlife Refuges, there currently is no guarantee that the Conservation System as a whole will exist in the future.
The 26 million-acre National Landscape Conservation System is comprised of more than 800 units, including 15 National Monuments, 13 National Conservation Areas, Steens Mountain Cooperative Management Protection Area in Oregon, Headwaters Forest Reserve in northern California, 36 Wild and Scenic Rivers, 148 Wilderness Areas, 4,264 miles of National Scenic and Historic Trails, and more than 600 Wilderness Study Areas.
The Bush Administration supports the legislation.