BISHOP, Calif. – The Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office today announced the release of a comprehensive management plan for public lands in the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine in Inyo County. The plan is designed to provide diverse, high-quality recreational opportunities while minimizing user conflicts, addressing human health and safety concerns, reducing recreational impacts, and enhancing other resources, values, and uses.
“The Alabama Hills management plan is the culmination of over 12 months of focused work by dedicated BLM Bishop Field Office resource management professionals, built on wide-ranging and passionate public participation that included highly engaged local stakeholders from the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group, Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Inyo County and the Lone Pine community,” said Bishop Field Manager Steve Nelson. “The level of public interest and engagement in this planning effort speaks to the importance of this unique and special place. We look forward to implementing the plan with continued consultation, coordination and engagement with our partners, local communities and stakeholders.”
Set between the jagged peaks of the Sierra Nevada and the Owens Valley, the Alabama Hills are a unique formation of rounded rocks and eroded hills encompassing more than 29,000 acres of public land that is well known for its mix of scenic, cultural, geological, educational, biological, historical, recreational, cinematographic and scientific values. More than 150,000 people from across the country and around the world visit the Alabama Hills each year. In March 2019, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act designated 18,745 acres of the Alabama Hills as a National Scenic Area and directed the BLM to develop a comprehensive management plan for the area within three years.
The management plan released today outlines a limited permit system for semi-primitive dispersed camping, guidelines for new rock climbing route development, management strategies for roads, routes and trails, and the installation of strategically placed toilets, trash facilities and signage to minimize the adverse effects of day and overnight use. The plan also provides for increased interpretation, education and partnership opportunities to improve the visitor experience and protect the area’s resources and values.
In addition to recreation, the plan includes targeted actions designed to maintain and enhance the other resources and values of the Alabama Hills, including fuels treatments to help reduce the risk and spread of catastrophic wildland fires. The plan also provides for ecosystem and resource improvement projects to conserve, protect, and enhance cultural and historical resources, popular movie locations, and native plant communities and wildlife habitats including riparian areas and sensitive species habitats. The plan maintains and streamlines film and special recreation permit activities.
The actions identified in the management plan were analyzed in a preliminary environmental assessment, with additions and modifications based on comments received during the public review period. The plan includes a strong adaptive management component and employs an implementation strategy that allows for monitoring results and adjusting accordingly based on desired outcomes.
Implementing the Dingell Act is a top priority for the Department of the Interior as we work to strike a proper balance for land and resource management, increase access for hunting, fishing, and recreation, and create economic prosperity, while protecting and preserving America’s treasures.
Today’s release of the Environmental Assessment, Finding of No Significance and Decision Record for the Alabama Hills Management Plan begins a 30-day appeal period that ends on Feb. 15, 2021. Information about this planning effort including the Environmental Assessment, Finding of No Significance, Decision Record, and Comprehensive Management Plan for the Alabama Hills are available online at https://bit.ly/2Owt8yd. For specific questions, please call Bishop Field Office Project Manager Monica Buhler at 760-872-5000.
*Images courtesy of BLM Media. Header Image Photo by Jesse Pluim, BLM.