Building Trust and Providing Access to BLM Lands Arizona and California
TheWest Mojave Route Network Project (WEMO) is a large-scale planning area encompassing 3.1 million acres of public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) California state office. In 2019, the BLM authorized theWEMO project, and amended the California Desert Conservation Area Plan to permit implementation of nine travel management plans that will improve access to public lands for recreation and other purposes, as well as addressing livestock grazing needs in the area.To ensure cultural resources within the planning area are managed properly, the BLM worked with consulting parties including Indian tribes, the Off HighwayVehicle community, avocational groups interested in historic preservation, and recreation advocates to create a multi-faceted strategy for identification and evaluation of historic properties.The BLM developed a GIS predictive model based on cultural site locations and public use intensity to guide needed cultural resource inventory and evaluation within the planning area, eliminating the need to complete field survey for the entire management unit.
National Cultural Resource Information Management System Interface (BLM/F. Kirk Halford)
The accuracy of the model improves as new inventory data is added annually and affords application of adaptive management methods that benefit resource management.An evaluation plan containing a pre-contact research design for the area and a historic trails context study are in development.These documents will reduce consultation timeframes for completing National Register of Historic Places eligibility determinations for cultural sites. In 2017, the BLMArizona state office initiated the process of converting cultural resource data to a digital, geospatial format.This effort will bring Cultural Heritage Program data into conformance with the BLM’s National Cultural Resource Management Data Standard, providing a common digital data set accessible to BLM Cultural Heritage Specialists across the country. The pilot project focused on scanning and geo-referencing USGS 7.5 minute quadrangles, digitizing geometry for site and survey data from existing BLM records and a database managed by the Arizona State Museum, and populating attribute data from content in paper records housed at the Sonoran Desert National Monument.Work associated with the pilot project was completed by a GIS intern through the Arizona Conservation Corps and guided by several BLM cultural resource and geospatial program subject matter experts. BLMArizona is in the process of adding data from the Arizona Strip District and the Lake Havasu Field and Yuma Field Offices. Completing this work will align BLMArizona Cultural Heritage Program data with BLM policy and national data standards, and support land use planning to realize BLM’s multiple use and sustained yield mandate.
WEMO interns conducting archaeological excavations (BLM/Shannon LaBelle)
IN A SPIRIT OF STEWARDSHIP: A REPORT ON FEDERAL HISTORIC PROPERTY MANAGEMENT 2021 | 19
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