ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – The Bureau of Land Management is expanding within the boundaries of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve and the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area in Washington County.

According to a press release from BLM, it’s acquired 35 acres for $2.5 million with hopes to protect natural resources and to expand recreation access and used funds from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the sale of public land in Washington County.

Officials with BLM say the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area is an important part of the reserve, which is a multi-jurisdictional land base managed by BLM, Utah, Washington County and local entities since 1996 to protect populations and habitat of the threatened Mojave Desert tortoise and other at-risk native plant and animal species.

“The acquisition of these lands in the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area signifies tremendous progress for the collaborative work happening with communities and our partners in Washington County,” says Color Country District Manager, Gloria Tibbetts.  

This project is a part of the America the Beautiful initiative, officials say is a decade long challenge to seek locally-led and voluntary efforts nationwide to conserve 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030.