public lands

The Interior Department is facing criticism for putting up barriers to conservation projects nationwide funded through the new Great American Outdoors Act.

Back in 2018, the U.S. Geological Survey and several Western states formed the Corridor Mapping Team, a first-of-its-kind collaboration among state and federal wildlife biologists to map ungulate migrations.

Last week, the team published its first volume of maps, which document more than 40 big-game migration routes in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.


Vanessa Chavarriaga loves to be outside, whether it's floating down a river in the desert or ice skating on a frozen alpine lake. And when she posts photos of her adventures, she includes information about where exactly she was.

The Department of Interior is proposing a rule change that could open the door for more private companies to operate within national parks.

As the pandemic wears on, leaders across the country are looking at how to economically recover after the COVID-19 pandemic. Some in the Mountain West are calling for more outdoor recreation spending.

The Great American Outdoors Act has passed the Senate with solid bipartisan support – but bipartisan doesn’t mean unanimous. A group of 73 voted yes while 25 voted no, including all of the senators from public land-heavy Idaho, Wyoming and Utah.


Most businesses in the outdoor recreation industry are seeing sales decline because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and 88% are reporting that they’ve had to lay off or furlough employees.

Wildfire season is upon us. As fire crews start heading out, politicians and the Trump administration are at odds over the measures needed to keep firefighters safe and on the job.

The Bureau of Land Management is charging back-due rent on renewable energy projects on public lands, as the Department of Interior simultaneously works to give oil and gas operators financial relief.

Everyone knows that living in the Rockies can get expensive. Headwaters Economics wanted to know why. The non-profit published new research this week that examines what causes housing to become so expensive in places where outdoor recreation is a main economic driver.

A National Wildlife Federation report published this week says new oil and gas leases on public lands could harm existing hunting economies in the West.


A federal report out this week shows that the Bureau of Land Management has more than halved the time spent reviewing oil and gas drilling permits, a reflection of how the agency's priorities have shifted under the Trump administration.

Photos by Bob Wick, Wilderness Specialist for the BLM’s National Conservation Lands

    

Sat. 9/27, 9am:  The Wilderness Act went into effect 50 years ago this month, and New Mexico was the first state to have officially designated wilderness.  We'll learn about what constitutes wilderness, and how kids can best enjoy our public lands.  Plus, Julia, Miel and Anna will be heading into the fractal corn maze at the start of the show, and they'll be checking in with us throughout the hour to see what progress they're making.  Great music, the KUNM Kids Birthday Club, and our calendar of family friendly events, join us!  

The Valles Caldera National Preserve is one of the most iconic sites in New Mexico. It’s a sweeping landscape of meadows and forests that sits in the massive crater of a collapsed volcano. Congress bought the former ranch in 2000 and created the preserve with a special mandate:  Become financially self-sufficient by 2015.

New Mexico State Forestry Division / NMEMRD

This week, an American icon celebrates his birthday: Smokey Bear is turning 68.

He’s still a spry old guy, kept alive by the Ad Council and the US Forest Service. It’s New Mexico’s forests that have been taking a hammering. In 2011, the Las Conchas Fire was the largest in state history. Then this year, the Whitewater-Baldy Fire in the Gila National Forest doubled its record. This summer also saw the state’s most destructive wildfire, the Little Bear Fire near Ruidoso.

But believe it or not, there’s good news.