National Landscape Conservation System Approved by Congress

1 by Derek Markham

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The permanent establishment of the National Landscape Conservation System was approved by Congress yesterday, helping to restore and protect some of America's most ecologically important lands. This system, which covers Wilderness Areas, National Monuments, National Scenic and Historic Trails, and National Conservation Areas, is the first of its kind in 50 years.

The System encompasses over 850 sites, 26 million acres of land under the purview of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), including 15 national monuments, 13 national conservation areas, 36 wild and scenic rivers, 148 wilderness areas, 4,264 miles of national scenic and historic trails, and more than 600 wilderness study areas.

"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." - William Meadows, President of The Wilderness Society

The NLCS will protect areas of archeological and scenic importance, protect habitat for wildlife, and continue to provide recreation opportunities for all.

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"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." - Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

With the passing of the NLCS, Congress is entrusting the Bureau of Land Management with protecting the United States’ newest land conservation system. The BLM's Conservation System was set up seven years ago, but there is no guarantee that the System will be around for another seven years without continued support.

The Conservation System Alliance, a coalition of 80 conservation, preservation, recreation, business, and education groups has been working toward the implementation of a permanent NLCS, with the aim of making it permanent and well-funded, something missing from our public lands policy so far.

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

"I am proud to have supported this package of important bills that will now go to President Obama for his signature. I’m especially proud that the bill will permanently establish the National Landscape Conservation System, which is an amazing, but still largely unknown, collection of land and waters. 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." - Raul M. Grijalva, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands

For more info, visit The Conservation System Alliance website.

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