Tuesday, December 01, 2015

BLM unofficial photographer capturing forgotten National Conservation Lands

Bureau of Land Management unofficial photographer Bob Wick is showing Americans a different side of an agency "long known for promoting oil drilling, mining and grazing but less known for supporting outdoor recreation," Phil Taylor reports for Greenwire. "His images—from a fog-filled, desert sagebrush valley to a lush California redwood forest—have exposed thousands of Americans to the agency's National Conservation Lands, a 30-million-acre system of wilderness, monuments, conservation areas, wild and scenic rivers, and historical trails."
Ken Rait, director of U.S. public lands at the Pew Charitable Trusts, told Taylor, "BLM lands are frequently referred to as the forgotten lands. Bob is making sure these lands are given the iconic status they deserve." (Wick photo: Basin and Range National Monument in Nevada)
Wick "spends up to six weeks a year prowling the agency's starkest landscapes," Taylor writes. "He's hiked hundreds of miles, camped in subzero temperatures and scrambled up dicey slopes to capture scrubby BLM terrain as it unfolds in early-morning sun. He's taken tens of thousands of photographs since the agency hired him in the late 1980s." The photos, which are published on BLM's Instagram account, can be used by the public without permission because Wick shoots as a federal employee. (The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in Arizona)

The photos have also been used to help environmental causes, Taylor writes. "In March 2014, CBS Evening News reported that Wick's photos of the Northern California coastline helped catalyze grassroots support for President Obama's decision to expand BLM's California Coastal National Monument." Wick told CBS, "My photos did play a role in that people who weren't visually aware of how spectacular this coastline could get a feel for it."

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