high rock canyon

National Conservation Area


The Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area Act of 2000 gave special designation to 1.2 million acres of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in northwestern Nevada often referred to as Black Rock Country. The Act designated 799,000 acres as a National Conservation Area (NCA) and 752,000 acres as 10 wilderness areas and is the largest NCA in the 48 contiguous states.

Congress created these special areas specifically to protect 180 miles of historic emigrant trails used by pioneers to travel from the Eastern States to Oregon and California in the mid-1800s. Also protected is the surrounding landscape of rugged mountains and high desert that is largely unchanged since those early days of national expansion. Recreation, hunting, trapping, livestock grazing, commercial events, activities requiring special permits, and previously existing, valid mining, all continue in the NCA.

The ten Wilderness Areas protect a panoramic landscape forged by the forces of nature along the historic trails and offer visitors vast areas of solitude in which to reestablish ancestral ties to the natural world. Tent camping, hunting, rock climbing, rock collecting, backpacking, nature study and photography are all pursued in wilderness areas. Motor vehicles, mechanical transport, mountain bikes, chainsaws and other kinds of motorized equipment cannot be used in wilderness, however, thereby preserving it to remain as pristine as possible. Hiking and horseback riding are the methods of access to wilderness, sometimes with the help of outfitters and guides with BLM permits.

Friends of Black Rock – High Rock follows the National Conservation Lands, National Strategy Guiding Principles in all of our field work.

Guiding Principles:

Collaboration. We embrace collaborative approaches, working with partners, volunteers, and communities in all aspects of our programs.

Diversity. We acknowledge cultural diversity and regional differences in perspective in developing our programs and materials.

Best Practices. We share best practices and resources will all levels of the organization in the planning and implementation of our programs.

Lifelong Learning. We provide opportunities for lifelong learning starting at preschool level and continuing through adulthood.

Accessibility. We strive to make our programs accessible for all visitors regardless of their backgrounds, cultures, ages, languages, abilities and needs.

Citizen Involvement. We encourage and provide opportunities for active stewardship of public lands.

Hands-on Learning. We believe that hands-on learning enables people to be active instead of passive learners, allowing participants to extract meaning and understanding through in-depth experience with land objects, resources and ideas.

Children and Nature. We support and implement programming opportunities to connect children and nature.

Innovation and Excellence. We promote, support, and celebrate innovation. Friends of Black Rock – High Rock takes pride in our work and are committed to the pursuit of excellence.

Learn more about National Conservation Lands