Wild Lands of the West | The BLM, National Geographic Magazine

The West was once considered vast and empty land, much of which no one wanted. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the steward of a quarter of a billion acres of public land — leftover land thought to be of no use. Today those wild western lands are highly valued and appreciated — now the land that everyone wants. The BLM encompasses the essential conflict of the old and the new west.

In a barren and harsh desert, partygoers pass through dry sagebrush where cowboys move cattle. They are on their way to Burning Man, an annual counter-culture arts festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert that attracts 25,000 people. Many dress in outlandish costumes and build sculptures that they burn …

Wild Lands of the West | The BLM, National Geographic Magazine

The West was once considered vast and empty land, much of which no one wanted. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the steward of a quarter of a billion acres of public land — leftover land thought to be of no use. Today those wild western lands are highly valued and appreciated — now the land that everyone wants. The BLM encompasses the essential conflict of the old and the new west.

In a barren and harsh desert, partygoers pass through dry sagebrush where cowboys move cattle. They are on their way to Burning Man, an annual counter-culture arts festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert that attracts 25,000 people. Many dress in outlandish costumes and build sculptures that they burn at the end of the week when everyone leaves with only their memories of the experience.

A far cry from the scene in the 1900s when hardscrabble pioneers settled the barren land and struggled to survive the harsh winters and dry summers. The lure then was gold, but few found the treasure. Miners, loggers, and ranchers lived Spartan lives, but that was the trade off for an independent life in the wide-open spaces.

Today an increasing urban population places a myriad of pressures on the traditional way of life as well as the wide open spaces. Recreationalists use the outdoors as their playground while environmentalists lobby to protect it as wilderness.

The west is a checkerboard of ownership. Energy development is complicated by state, federal and individual claims to minerals and water.

Wild land fires increasingly drain federal budgets. Water is as scarce as is land to build on. Everyone owns the land. Yet, because of the diversity of interests, conflict over its use continues to grow.

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Classic Western Cowboy Scene The Lost Coast Aerial Of Castle Valley Landscape Alaska Range At The Maclaren River Alaskan Pipeline Above Ground North Slope Alaska Pipeline And Haul Road Arctic Swimmer Mustangs In The Red Desert Father And Daughter Western Portrait Nature Conservancy Ranch Western Cattle Drive Cowboy Portrait Ranch Life Burning Man Fish Out Of Water Patriotic Display Surreal Mirage Sand Clouds The Festival Rare Trumpeter Swan Spring Wildflowers Young Bull Moose Aspens In San Juan Mountains Aspens Begin Their Show Medicine Lodge Creek Ranch Life In The West Chidren And Ranch Life Cowgirl Driving Cattle Wildland Fire Fighters Fueling The Flames Of Wildlife Black Thunder Coal Mine Shovel Inside Black Thunder Coal Mine Sailing In The Alvord Desert Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Anasazi Ruins In National Monument Utah’s Castle Rock Dune Riders Wild West Riders Tough Cowgirl Men of Burning Man Joshua Trees In Virgin River Gorge Burning Man Reveler Rogue River Paddler Mountain Drama Nevada’s Red Rock Canyon Western Cattle Drive
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