public lands

Electric bikes are coming to national parks and other public lands managed by the Interior Department. 

Much of the public lands leased for oil and gas in our region are acquired through a noncompetitive process with the Bureau of Land Management. A new report says that's not good for taxpayers.

The Bureau of Land Management is proposing 11,000 miles of fuel breaks throughout our region to help combat the spread of wildfires.

Across the Mountain West, the majority of our land mass is publicly owned. A new mapping project by Headwaters Economics provides county-level data that can help you understand what that means.

 


Bureau of Land Management

President Trump is touting his environmental achievements this week. But some environmental advocacy groups are not impressed. 

The Center for Western Priorities just released a new study that shows the administration has been almost unanimously approving de-regulatory policy changes requested or supported by mining and drilling groups. 

The Trump administration may soon push for more uranium mining in the Colorado Plateau, arguing the mineral is critical for national security. The potential move prompted criticism from Democrats during a hearing of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources on Tuesday. 

Creative Commons 2.0 / U.S. Department of the Interior

The Nature Conservancy just appointed Obama’s former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell as its new interim CEO.  The leadership change comes in the wake of an investigation into sexual harassment and misconduct at the organization. Several top executives were implicated and have stepped down, including the CEO and the President.

cooksr / Creative Commons 2.0

A new report shows that nearly all national parks in the U.S. have poor air quality.

The report from the National Parks Conservation Association says that 96% of our national parks have significant air pollution problems. In fact, it says, 33 of America’s most-visited national parks are as bad as our 20 largest cities.

Eric Vance / EPA

The law that governs today’s hardrock mines on public lands in the West is nearly 150 years old. New legislation this week from House Democrats would enact significant reforms. 

Michael Duniway / U.S. Geological Survey

Soil erosion in the West is getting worse. And that’s creating more dust – which isn’t good for ecosystems, human health or the economy.

The Trump administration is reducing grazing fees on public lands again. The new rate is the lowest the federal law allows.

Creative Commons Zero - CC0 / publicdomainpictures.net

National Parks and public lands in the West are having trouble with cactus poachers. But some park rangers are fighting back by micro-chipping their cacti.

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed landmark legislation Tuesday to expand recreation access and conserve public lands nationwide. Passage of the Natural Resources Act stood out not just because it tackled a big challenge — the permanent authorization of the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund — but also because of the strength of bipartisan support that propelled the omnibus package beyond the politics of division.

A group of Western lawmakers have reintroduced legislation that would give states control of oil and gas projects on federal lands.

Mike Procell / 91.5 KRCC

Conservation groups are planning to buy a ranch near Trinidad that includes the landmark Fisher's Peak. The $25.5 million acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of February with a goal of eventually allowing public access to the land.

On Thursday, Democrats take back control of the House. Among several priorities is reviving a popular bipartisan conservation program that’s been dead for months.

Joseph Wilson

A new study says when the Trump administration shrank Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah late last year, it may have endangered scores of native bee species.

Gage Skidmore, Flickr / Creative Commons 2.0

Congressman Raúl Grijalva and Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, recently locked horns in a bitter and very public war of accusations. Grijalva called on Zinke to resign in light of several ethics investigations and Zinke in turn took to Twitter to personally attack the Arizona Congressman. Grijalva is set to take over the chairmanship of the House Committee on Natural Resources, the committee that oversees Zinke’s Department and makes critical decisions about public lands, energy and the environment. And it turns out Raúl Grijalva's plans for the committee are quite different from his Republican predecessor.

Public Domain / U.S. Forest Service

Vicki Christiansen was sworn in this morning as Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. She’s only the second female to serve in this role in its 113-year history.

An important but little-known public lands fund expired this weekend. 

The midterm elections are notorious for low voter turnout. In 2014, it was the lowest since World War II. So this year, companies, celebrities and non-profit organizations are rallying behind get-out-the-vote campaigns.

A leaked memo this week from the Interior Department shows Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to give states more clout over wildlife management on public lands, unless it conflicts with federal law.

 


The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) may be the most successful, and little-known, conservation program. That obscurity could contribute to it's downfall. 

Public lands have been in the news a lot this year. They comprise much of the Mountain West, from around 30 percent of land in Montana and Colorado to more than 60 percent in Utah and Idaho. This summer, we’re taking you on a tour of some of our favorite public lands.

6:30 a.m. is one of the best times to watch wildlife in Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Valley.

Everything smells like sage. It’s really cold and there are a bunch of retirees staring through hire-powered telescopes at a lush, verdant hill.

pxhere

A major outdoor apparel company is moving its global headquarters to Colorado. The move comes amid the growing economic and political power of the multi-billion dollar outdoor recreation industry in our region.

The Bureau of Land Management has issued draft proposals outlining the uses the federal government wants to allow in the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments in southern Utah.

By Jeffrey Beall / Creative Commons 4.0

Some Steamboat Springs, Colorado residents are welcoming the Interior Department Secretary with a protest Friday evening.  Ryan Zinke is the keynote speaker at the Steamboat Institute’s annual ‘Freedom Conference,’ a private event.

A year and a half into the Trump presidency and several federal land agencies do not have directors—

including the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Former land managers say the lack of leadership has grave consequences for the future of public lands.


 


Bureau of Land Management / Creative Commons 2.0

You may not have heard of PILT payments, but they’re pretty important for local economies in areas like the Mountain West.  The federal government gives these 'payments in lieu of taxes' to counties with federal lands that can't earn regular tax revenue.  

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