Reimagine Your Public Lands

Nate Wilson

Author: Lace Thornberg  |   Published: July 14, 2021  |  Updated: September 17, 2021 | Category: In the News

National Public Lands Day is celebrated annually on the fourth Saturday in September. And, in 2021 the federal agency responsible for more than 245 million acres of public land nationwide, including 16 million acres in Oregon — the Bureau of Land Management — is marking its 75th anniversary.

The public lands issues facing the Bureau today are quite different than they were way back in 1946, with complex issues like the climate and biodiversity crises requiring a paradigm shift in how we look at public lands management. To effectively address these issues, the United State’s largest land manager will have to be a leader.

The agency’s theme for this milestone anniversary is “Reimagine Your Public Lands” and, as part of their commemorations, they are inviting people across the country to share their favorite stories from Bureau-managed lands

That sure looks like an invitation to highlight high desert landscapes in need of protection. Are you ready to knock it out of the park? 

Here are three incredibly special desert landscapes to highlight.  


Michelle Frisella, member since 2017

Michelle Frisella, member since 2017

So proud of ONDA and its members and volunteers. Such hard work gets done. To use an overused word, this is patriotism!


Discover Desert Pronghorn

Discover Desert Pronghorn


John Cunningham, ONDA member and volunteer

John Cunningham, ONDA member and volunteer

Restoration is hard slow work. It takes hold, or it doesn’t, in fits and starts. The immensity of the need can be discouraging, but we must carry on. I am so thankful ONDA carries on.

Place: Owyhee Canyonlands

Managed by the BLM's Vale District

Curtis Reesor

Why It’s Amazing:  

The Owyhee Canyonlands is an Oregon treasure, and one of the most remote, significant and intact landscapes in the entire country. Here, natural conditions prevail, much of the area looks today as it has for thousands of years and opportunities for solitude and backcountry recreation abound.

What It Needs: 

With foresight, planning and responsive, conservation-focused management, we can preserve the most unique and ecologically significant areas of the Owyhee and prevent the sort of development and impacts that have quickly taken hold in other areas of the West. 

Tweet to Push for Owyhee Protection

Not active on Twitter? No problem, you can easily convert any of these facts and tweets into Facebook or Instagram posts. We have some additional tips at the end of this article. 

[bctt tweet=” Happy #NationalPublicLandsDay! @BLMNational, when I #ReImaginePublicLands, I see enduring protections for all my favorite #BLMWild places in Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands!” via=”no”]


Place: Steens Mountain

Managed by the Burns BLM District

Sean Bagshaw

Why It’s Amazing: 

Deep glacier-carved gorges, stunning scenery, wilderness, wild rivers, a rich diversity of plant, fish, and wildlife species

What It Needs: 

More streams protected as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

While the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area provides solid protection for 400,000 acres in this area, many of the wild streams that traverse its rugged slopes remain unprotected, despite hosting phenomenal riparian habitat and unique opportunities to conserve native fish species. Home Creek, on the west side of Steens, offers the last, best habitat for Catlow Valley redband trout, one of only two endemic fish in Catlow Valley. Meanwhile, East Steens Mountain streams support federally protected Lahontan cutthroat trout, which are threatened throughout much of their range.

Tweet to Push for Wild and Scenic Rivers:

[bctt tweet=”When I #ReImaginePublicLands, I think about keeping Oregon’s desert streams running cold and clear on Steens Mountain. These headwaters allow life to flourish in the desert. Happy #NationalPublicLandsDay, @BLMNational!” via=”no”]

Place: Greater Hart-Sheldon

Managed by the Lakeview BLM District, Burns BLM District, Winnemucca BLM District, Northern California BLM District

George Wuerthner

Why It’s Amazing: 

This region supports one of the longest and largest pronghorn migrations in North America, and is one of six remaining sagebrush strongholds that greater sage-grouse need to survive  

What It Needs: 

Greater Hart-Sheldon needs its key habitat corridors preserved through consistent conservation-minded management. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s original vision for the Greater Hart-Sheldon was to establish a single large wildlife refuge to conserve both core reserves and the vital migratory pathways between them. The present situation in this region is a complex land ownership pattern of two refuges, four different Bureau of Land Management districts, and state lands and private lands. Each of these agencies operates under different management objectives, some of which subject the land to uses that adversely affect the region’s rich and irreplaceable wildlife values.

Tweet To Encourage Sound Management:

[bctt tweet=”Thousands of pronghorn race across the Greater Hart-Sheldon, while golden eagles soar above. @BLMNational, please #FixThePlans and to protect this critically important wildlife habitat in Oregon. #BLMWild #NationalPublicLandsDay #ReImaginePublicLands” via=”no”]