Climb 6,862 feet to the top of Black Mountain in Oregon and you’ll find yourself standing in Hells Canyon Wilderness. Stick with the easier Monument Ridge hike and you’ll set up camp in Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.
What’s in a name, or this case, a federal public lands label? Each land designation carries a mission and list of activities allowed there, from hunting to mining to hiking.
Take the quiz below to test your knowledge and find out who you might meet on your next trip (all allow hiking).
Print out this page, then match up land designations and descriptions: next to the land designation, write the letter of the corresponding description listed below. Check the answers on the next page.
National Conservation Area
National Forest or Grassland
National Recreation Area
National Resource Land
National Wildlife Refuge
A Often linked with a national park. Allows mineral and fuel extraction, hunting, and trapping.
B Allows foot and horse traffic only; no mountain bikes, hang gliders, or other “machines.”
C Allows logging, mining, and oil and gas drilling, as well as mountain biking, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, and
D Managed for grazing and extraction by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM); often unnamed. Allows all recreational activities.
E Preserves wildlife habitat. Allows hunting and fishing; some allow overnight camping.
F Coastal equivalent of a national park. Some allow hunting.
G Designated primarily to protect resources and recreation opportunities. Some allow grazing; no hunting, mining, or other extractive uses.
H Traditionally used for historic structures or landmarks on government land; more recently used to grant national parklike status to tracts of western
land. Designated by Congress or the president. Individual site determines allowable recreational activities.
I “Must be located to withstand comparatively heavy recreation use and located where it can contribute significantly to the recreation needs of urban populations” (according to congressional act). Designated by Congress. Individual location determines allowable recreational activities.
J Similar to National Monument status; applies solely to BLM lands. Granted only by Congress. Individual site determines allowable recreational activities.
QUIZ ANSWERS for “Test Your Wildlands IQ”
National Conservation Area: J
National Forest or Grassland: C
National Monument: H
National Park: G
National Preserve: A
National Recreation Area: I
National Resource Land: D
National Seashore: F
National Wildlife Refuge: E
Wilderness Area: B