Courier August/September Courier - Page 14

BUSINESS Hidden in plain sight Places you know, places you’ve never imagined BY JULIE P. HEIZER, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, NATIONAL TRAVEL AND TOURISM OFFICE MULTIPLE U.S. FEDERAL AGENCIES and their partners take care of the largest expanse of public lands and waterways within the United States, and they work hard to provide fresh information about visitor destinations and experiences. For many international and domestic visi- tors, these spaces represent new, excit- ing and unexplored opportunities. Visitors to public lands and water navigate these destinations on foot or by mountain bike, raft, car, canoe or kayak. And others seek underground and underwater adventures via caving and diving. These breathtaking land and water scenes are always a photographer’s delight, and their extraordinary cultural and heritage appeal is equally compelling. Here are some destination ideas and online resources to help you and your travelers explore the United States and find their next newest adventure. The Bureau of Land Management/ Department of the Interior BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land and waters that offer breathtaking landscapes from coast to coast. If there is such a thing as “clas- sic” Western American landscapes, they likely lie within the realm of BLM, which manages more fish, wildlife and plant habitat than anyone in the United States. Whether you want a slow scenic cruise or an extreme adventure, BLM offers one-of-a-kind experiences with stunning views. Explore those land- scapes, one story at a time: bit.ly/2t6fV2i. Few realize that more than one tenth of BLM lands and waters are part of a rel- atively young conservation system known as the National Conservation Lands (on.doi.gov/2u5OGsY), most of which are open to hunting and fishing. See National Geographic’s National Conservation Lands 15th-anniversary map: on.doi. gov/2sXKzjd. These lands and waters are among America’s best-kept secrets. Groups that explore by bike can check out BLM’s top 20 mountain bik- ing locations and interactive trail maps, developed in partnership with the International Mountain Biking Association: on.doi.gov/2tACOOP. BLM preserves our past by managing a tremendous number and wide diversity of cultural heritage resources. You can visit BLM’s Cultural Heritage and Paleontology photo album and see extraordinary pho- tos, such as the ancient reptile track from Prehistoric Trackways National Monument in New Mexico. Scroll over each photo to find its location: bit.ly/2uJvqiL. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/ Department of the Interior USFWS manages a Wildlife Refuge System that offers unique visiting, viewing and learning opportunities focused on wildlife and their habitats. For itinerary ideas, maps, a state-by- state list of wildlife refuges, an events calendar, and information about spe- cific activities, such as birding, fish- ing, trails, photography and coastal resources go to fws.gov/refuges. Visitors who enjoy public lands and waters managed by the U.S. Forest Service can find more than 150,000 miles recreation sites; 57,000 miles of streams; 122 alpine ski areas; and 338,000 heritage sites. A campsite beside the Rio Grande in New Mexico 12 August/September 2017 of trails; 10,000 developed