Wild Lands of the West | The BLM, National Geographic Magazine: Medicine Lodge Creek

Yellow blooms blur in the wind growing along an open stream.

Stormy winds blow flowering leafy spurge near the water’s edge. The invasive plant has become the bane of western ranchers as it spreads quickly into rangeland, taking over native grasses and sickening cattle that eat the foliage.

Unlike most of the federal estate, Bureau of Land Management lands are often intertwined with private lands. On Medicine Lodge Creek in eastern Idaho, the river bottom is private, the hills publicly owned.