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Meet Public Lands Interpretive Association

The Public Lands Interpretive Association (PLIA) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit founded in 1981 with the mission of educating and inspiring users of America’s public lands. We partner with the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service to operate stores and visitor centers on public lands in the Southwest (including the New Mexico Public Lands Information Center in Santa Fe), create educational experiences for all ages, and operate campgrounds in Arizona’s Kaibab National Forest.

Public Lands Interpretive Association logo

Our online store and 14 retail locations offer a wide selection of maps, books, guides, and other tools for getting outdoors for hiking, hunting, fishing, and more! Toys, souvenirs, and clothing are also available with designs featuring landscapes and wildlife of the Southwest. Our online map center offers full coverage of eleven states across the Western U.S., with official National Forest and Bureau of Land Management maps to explore public lands as well as specific trail guides for popular National Parks and other areas.

Our information services are another important component of our mission. Call or visit our New Mexico Public Lands Information Center in Santa Fe and our helpful staff can assist you with finding maps, navigating the state, or understanding the rules and regulations covering outdoor destinations. Our website also features a chat button, where you can send questions directly to our staff during business hours.

While we are based in New Mexico, our staff will do all they can to find the right contact or information for your next trip. Our interactive recreation map at the PLIA website is a useful catalog of thousands of developed recreation sites in the Western U.S. Sort by hunting, camping, hiking, or fishing areas, locate campground contact information, and find out who manages your favorite outdoor spaces!

All purchases in our stores and online help support our nonprofit education and outreach programs and connect Americans to their public lands in new ways. Our Caver Quest Academy program, for example, secures entry to the Fort Stanton — Snowy River Cave for several hundred middle-school students in southern New Mexico, with in-class programs, an interactive game, and equipment for an unforgettable caving experience. Our other programs include exhibits at visitor centers, interpretive signage at public land sites, and visitor guides. Next time you’re itching to get out, check out the resources PLIA has to offer — you may just find the best-kept secrets of your public lands!

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Viewing the Rare Annular Eclipse in New Mexico
Annular eclipse graphic

The October Dance of the Earth, Moon, and Sun Over New Mexico On the morning of Saturday, October 14, 2023, New Mexico skywatchers will have a chance to experience a rare event – an annular solar eclipse. An annular eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly in front of the Sun but does not block out the entire Sun’s disk. Instead, a ring of the Sun is visible for a few minutes – the so-called “Ring of Fire.” It is … Read More

Whiptail Trails Club Helps Students Discover the Great Outdoors
Seventh grade girls in the Whiptail Trails Club at White Sands National Park.

In this era when everyone, including youngsters, has a phone in their pocket and spends hours each day in front of a screen, it’s more important than ever to help young people discover the joys of spending time outdoors. Fortunately, the Whiptail Trails Club of the Public Lands Interpretive Association (PLIA), is designed to do just that. The Whiptail Trails Club has two main functions: providing in-class lessons for seventh-grade students followed by field trips, and hosting weeklong summer camps … Read More

El Malpais Community Arts Program Offers Exciting Opportunities
Artist Marissa Irizarry

The nonprofit Public Lands Interpretive Association (PLIA) is working with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Rio Puerco Field Office to enhance the beauty of El Malpais National Conservation Area through the El Malpais Community Arts Program. The BLM says on its website that they have “invited artists from El Malpais’ surrounding areas to participate in a unique collaboration: to create a narrative connection between art and land stewardship, history, culture, and land conservation.” This dramatic landscape of lava fields … Read More

PLIA’s Online Store: Find Exceptional Gifts for Outdoor Enthusiasts
Some books available at the PLIA map and bookstore.

If you’re a nature and outdoor enthusiast (or are buying gifts for one), a great place to shop is at the Public Lands Interpretive Association’s online store. If you’re in Albuquerque, you can stop at their brick-and-mortar store at 6501 Fourth Street NW Suite I and pick up gifts, maps, guidebooks, and much more in person. While some of the nonprofit organization’s other locations offer a range of items, only the Albuquerque store offers everything they sell online. With the … Read More