DURANGO, Colo. — In response to record numbers of visitors, a national and digital edu-tainment campaign is expanding today in New Mexico and throughout the West with the goal of inspiring safe and respectful use of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Through a series of cheeky yet earnest videos, social content and website resources, the “Respect. Connect. Protect” campaign showcases Spokespebble who deeply cares about protecting nature, keeping people safe and helping them plan visits to these more remote, rugged and sensitive landscapes. The campaign is designed to speak to the next generation of visitors — especially Gen Z and Millennials — who are passionate about protecting natural resources and know how to influence the culture at large.
More than 3.6 million people visited lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management in 2022 in New Mexico; and there are 73 National Conservation Land Units including four national monuments, 6 Wilderness areas and three National Historic and Scenic Trails in the state.
“Record numbers of visitors continue to venture into New Mexico public lands managed by the BLM beyond and between national parks, and there is currently no other large-scale collaborative effort that addresses the safety and other considerations specific to them,” said Kris Deutschman, Senior Communications Director for the Conservation Lands Foundation.
“We’re introducing Spokespebble as a voice for these public lands where more planning and preparation is needed to visit safely and in ways that respect the natural environment so that everyone else can enjoy them too. There’s unlikely to be cell coverage, water stations or rangers to help in many of these remote areas. Lack of awareness and preparation leads to people getting lost, stranded or worse, plus it can lead to degradation of Indigenous sacred sites, essential wildlife habitats and water sources,” Deutschman said.
The national campaign is sponsored by the Conservation Lands Foundation, the nation’s only non-profit organization focused on protecting and expanding National Conservation Lands and other public lands managed by BLM. In collaboration with the BLM, campaign partners include: the New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division, the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, Leave No Trace, Tread Lightly and 40 community-led public land advocacy non-profits throughout the West.
The digital-first campaign seeks to empower visitors with practical tips on how to stay safe and protect the natural beauty as well as act respectfully and responsibly whether hiking, fishing, camping, OHVing and other activities on these more remote public lands.
Today’s national expansion of the campaign follows on the heels of a highly-successful limited introduction during the Spring. Find videos and resources at www.respectconnectprotect.org.