Principles of the National Conservation Lands

The Friends of the Sonoran Desert National Monument (FSDNM) is committed to the principles established for National Conservation Lands by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). These principles were established in the 15-Year Strategic Plan released in 2011.

The Conservation Lands Foundation, the Wilderness Society and the National Trust for Historical Preservation published the National Conservation Lands 2012 Policy Handbook to make these principles widely available to the public.

After reading the Principles of National Conservation Lands I am sure you will agree with me that this plan takes serious our knowledge of conservation and how we should use science to guide our decisions on how our public land should be managed. The Sonoran Desert National Monument is a small fraction of the Sonoran desert which is several million acres is size and lies within three nations. As nature would have it, what occurs on one part of the Sonoran desert will affect other parts. Take for example issues such as development, highways, border security and climate change.

The FSDNM is dedicated to see that the National Conservation Lands are successful and that we can all be proud to leave futures generations a priceless inheritance, ecologically healthy and intact public land within even larger landscape.

Principles of the National Conservation Lands

In creating the National Landscape Conservation System in 2001 (referred to here as the National Conservation Lands), Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt outlined a clear vision for how the Conservation Lands should be managed. Additionally he articulated how they are different from other protected lands systems and how the Bureau of Land Management could evolve into an agency recognized for its conservation management.  The following defining principles of the National Conservation Lands are drawn from Secretary Babbitt’s overall vision, as well as from the collective input of many organizations that foster that vision.

Vision Statement

Conservation, protection and restoration of ecological resources and the protection of cultural resources is of paramount importance. Inclusion of lands within the National Conservation Lands will guarantee these protections.

Principles

The National Conservation Lands are a permanent, innovative and distinctive system of protected public lands and waters that stands proudly alongside the National Park System and the National Wildlife Refuge System as part of our national heritage.

The National Conservation Lands protect the largest tracts of natural landscapes practicable and includes entire ecosystems and archeological districts rather than small, isolated artifacts or parcels.

Lands within the National Conservation Lands remain undeveloped. Visitor services, including visitor center facilities, lodging and other accommodations are located in the communities adjacent to Conservation Lands.

The conservation and protection of the National Conservation Lands is a top priority within the Bureau of Land Management.

The National Conservation Lands are managed to ensure ecological connectivity in context with surrounding landscapes to maintain biodiversity. The BLM integrates habitat connectivity, the migratory needs of wildlife, and the anticipated impacts of climate change in its management plans and decisions.

The National Conservation Lands include natural landscapes, native biodiversity, and nationally significant historic and cultural resources.

Visitors to the National Conservation Lands enjoy a unique, self-directed experience with minimal on-site developed interpretation.

 The National Conservation Lands are an outdoor laboratory, where scientific research and the application of science to land stewardship and restoration is emphasized, encouraged and supported.

National Monuments and National Conservation Areas are the most well-known and recognized of the National Conservation Lands. Although different in name, the management of these two designated areas is typically very similar– both are managed with a focus on conservation of the resources they were designated to protect.

In fact, the language creating each National Monument and National Conservation Area is unique to that area, in order to address the specific values and issues relating to the individual place. In general, both designations allow for broad access while protecting the natural and cultural resources.

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