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December 07, 2019

Alabama Hills - National Scenic Area

My blog has been focused on our personal experiences.  However, with continued loss of ‘Snowbird Habitat’, today I will mention a story that I’ve been following.

On March 12 2019 congress officially redesignated the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, CA from a ‘Recreation Area’ to the ‘Alabama Hills National Scenic Area’.

The legislation states: “The purpose of the National Scenic Area is to conserve, protect, and enhance for the benefit, use, and enjoyment of present and futures generations the nationally significant scenic, cultural, geological, educational, biological, historical, recreational, cinematographic, and scientific resources”

Included in the legislation is the transfer of 132 acres of land to the indigenous Paiute-Shoshone people.  This under the Natural Resources Management Act (S.47), signed by President Trump.   Also known as the Dingell Act, which directs all National Parks, National Monuments, BLM lands and wilderness to participate in a unified plan to balance recreation and conservation.


The Alabama Hills are now part of the National Conservation Lands, which includes some 34 million acres to offer the American people "exceptional" recreation opportunities.

The official dedication ceremony took place on October 5th.  A YouTube video can be found HERE.



For the past several months replanting of areas where "semi-primitive campsites" have expanded has taken place.  This will continue, using native vegetation.


So why am I sharing this information now?  Owens Valley residents are used to looking at vast open spaces with no people in the picture. With the current dispersed camping in the Hills, local eyes see an RV as a scar on that landscape.

The BLM is hosting a series of workshops seeking public input.  All workshops are being held in the Owens Valley between Lone Pine and Bishop … in winter!  There is no webpage for comments, but this BLM notice allows for email.  

Currently dispersed camping is still allowed.  On weekends a camper might encounter a BLM volunteer ‘suggesting’ it might be more appropriate to camp at Tuttle Creek...

Download the current BLM guide for the Alabama Hills from their website HERE.  Note that it no longer mentions dispersed camping, and specifically states it is “best suited for day use.”

I hope dispersed camping will still be allowed, even if reduced, but I’m not overly optimistic.  Altho we're normally the only folks at Fossil Falls it might be nice to have some company :)

I’d like readers to visit the Alabama Hills forewarned changes are coming, and I look forward to their blog posts.