Best Wild Places: Exploring the Blue Lakes (Day 2)

Deputy Editor Jay Cassell and Greg Moore (Trout Unlimited's communications specialist for TU's Sportsmen's Conservation Projects, spent three days with Jim Jeffress, TU's Nevada backcountry coordinator, exploring the Blue Lakes - Pine Forest Range in the far northwest corner of Nevada, close to the Oregon line. Here's the report from Day 2.

The second day of the tour was two-fold: chukar hunting in the McGee Mountain multiple use area, a 5000-acre piece of property near the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge; then going to Knott Creek Reservoir for some more trout fishing. Yesterday, I was told that the BLM's original wilderness inventory was 49 million acres across Nevada.

I had a tough time wrapping my head around those figures until Moore told me that more than 76 percent of the state is public land managed by the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service, with the vast majority of it in BLM hands. Add land controlled by the military, and almost 85 percent of the state is owned by the Federal Government. When you've got so much land, proper management, with input from all involved parties, is critical.

McGee Mountain was a typical example of land used by a variety of interests, from sportsmen to ranchers to miners.

--Jay Cassell