Washington, D.C. – Representative Raúl M. Grijalva’s legislation, a bill to create the nation’s newest public lands system, the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS), was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives today.
Rep. Grijalva, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, introduced the National Landscape Conservation System Act (H.R. 2016), which would codify the National Landscape Conservation System within the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
“I am proud to have sponsored this very important piece of legislation,” said Chairman Grijalva. “The National Landscape Conservation System protects our shared heritage and this Congressional authorization will generate awareness for these 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 and will hopefully inspire generations of Americans for years to come.”
The NLCS 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 officially sanctioned by Congress. The purpose of H.R. 2016 is to provide the permanence and stature that accompany formal Congressional authorization. The legislation also unifies separate units into a coherent System and will allow for efficient management of the 10 percent of BLM’s lands designated for conservation purposes by Congress and the president.
The Bush Administration supports the legislation.
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
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.