BLM acquires lands for habitat conservation, recreation opportunities

The Bureau of Land Management has acquired more than 800 acres of land in five areas of northern California and northwest Nevada to improve opportunities for wildlife habitat conservation and public access for recreation. These acquisitions from willing sellers were funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund and state grants with the goal of conserving America’s lands for the benefit of all people.

“These newly acquired lands in northern California will provide important public benefits now and into the future,” said BLM State Director Karen Mouritsen. “These acquisitions help advance the “America the Beautiful” initiative and will provide increased opportunities for people to connect with their public lands.”

In Lassen County, 680 acres along Upper Smoke Creek east of U.S. Highway 395 are now publicly owned, enhancing opportunities for the BLM and partners to maintain and improve critical habitat for greater sage- grouse, mule deer and other wildlife. This high desert land contains numerous springs that provide water year- round, along with miles of creek habitat and hundreds of acres of riparian areas and wetlands. The area northeast of Susanville is popular with hunters who pursue mule deer, antelope, and upland birds. The area is culturally significant to local Native American Tribes.

Closer to Susanville, the Reynolds parcel acquisition of 18 acres at the Rice Canyon Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area will enhance riding and off-road driving opportunities. The addition to this off-highway vehicle area provides an important buffer between the recreation area trailhead and adjacent private propertyowners.

The BLM has also acquired 40 acres near the Biscar Wildlife Area on the west side of U.S. Highway 395 northeast of Susanville. The parcel includes a quarter mile of Snowstorm Creek and its associated riparian area, including a spring that flows year-round. The area is important habitat for raptors, owls, waterfowl, mule deer and greater sage grouse.

In far northwest Nevada, the BLM has expanded access for public land hunting and dispersed camping with the acquisition of a 40-acre parcel at Divine Springs in the Hays Range about 30 miles east of Cedarville, Calif. The parcel is dotted with stands of mountain mahogany and western juniper and expanses of sage and bitterbrush, all providing important wildlife habitat.

In west Redding, the BLM has acquired 40 acres within the popular Swasey Recreation Area, allowing for expanded mountain biking and hiking trails. Swasey is one of the most visited recreation areas managed by the BLM in Redding, offering more than 30 miles of trails for riders and hikers of all abilities.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund was permanently authorized in 2019. In 2020, Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act and enacted Land and Water Conservation Fund funding of $900 million annually. Congress allocates this funding to the BLM, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and state and local governments.

About the Bureau of Land Management
The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land in the Nation, primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.