The time has come for the permanent protection of Gold Butte,
Nevada's piece of the Grand Canyon.
Northeast of Las Vegas waits the
350,000-acre region known as Gold Butte, which offers wondrous geology, intriguing
history and prehistory, remote and undeveloped camping opportunities, important and
fragile wildlife species, and timeless solitude.
Wind sculpture at Gold Butte © Kurt Kuznicki
Friends of Nevada Wilderness, Friends of Gold Butte and
the Nevada Wilderness Coalition have proposed that Congress Gold Butte with a
combination of National Conservation Area and wilderness. These designations
will conserve the wildlife habitat, historic and prehistoric resources, scenery,
exploration and discovery that enhance the heritage and tourism economy of
With your help, we can turn Gold Butte from a threatened
jewel into one of our nation's great Conservation Lands, which will provide
benefits for everyone who lives in or visits this region.
Click here to see a map of the Gold Butte region.
Gold Butte lies east of the Overton Arm of Lake Mead, west of the Arizona border, south of Virgin Peak, and north of the Colorado River. In this region, the Great Basin, Mojave, Sonoran and Colorado Plateau eco-regions all meet, each contributing a colorful piece to the region. The Bureau of Land Management has designated several Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) in the region to protect critical habitat for desert tortoise and 77 other plant and animal species, fragile rock art and other cultural resources, historic mining districts and unique scenery. Unfortunately, ACECs are administrative, which means they can be removed and don't offer the permanence of Congressional protection like wilderness or national conservation area designation.
Lime Canyon area, Gold Butte (c) Kurt Kuznicki
In 2002, the Clark County public lands bill designated two small wilderness areas — Lime Canyon and Jumbo Springs. But these two areas comprise only 28,000 acres of this large, beautiful landscape. Many other places, such as Billy Goat Peak, the Million Hills Wilderness Study Area, Black Ridge and North Bitter Ridge are home to wonderful biological, cultural, scenic and historic resources that deserve protection from short-sighted ignorance and recklessness.
It's also feeling the brunt of excessive and uncontrolled off-road vehicle use and other disrespectful human activities. The lack of management or control of human activities in Gold Butte leaves means that many of the things that make this region wonderful might be destroyed before it's too late.
Our Golden Heritage
More and more people are falling in love with the beauty and special resources found in the Gold Butte region. Let's all work together to ensure this unique region gets the long-term protection it deserves. We hope to see legislation that would create the Gold Butte National Conservation Area and designate a number of stunning wild places as wilderness. We want to make sure that these designations allow for public access and are consistent with the BLM's travel management plan for the region.
Some of the areas include the BLM Million Hills Wilderness Study Area, Bitter Ridge, Billy Goat Peak as well as the Scanlon Wash and Twin Springs Wilderness in Lake Mead NRA.
Petroglyph panel in the Gold Butte area © Kurt Kuznicki
Why legislation is important
Designating Gold Butte with a combination of NCA and wilderness will enhance the region's status as an important destination for tourism, while important resources from ongoing damage from unregulated activities.
Designation will rectify Gold Butte's status as the unprotected orphan of Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument and the missing piece of the Grand Canyon puzzle, both of which lie in Arizona. Gold Butte contains equally beautiful and valuable landscape, wildlife and cultural history, separated only by an arbitrary state line.
Legislation will provide greater protection to numerous wildlife species, including desert tortoise, desert bighorn sheep, the banded Gila monster, great horned owls and a great variety of reptiles, birds and mammals.
Designation will provide greater protection for Gold Butte's abundant archaeological resources, including rock art, caves, agave roasting pits and camp sites dating back at least 3,000 years.
Designation will help the public preserve, protect and understand Gold Butte's historical resources that deserve conservation, including Spanish and pioneer mining camps dating back to the 1700s.
Designation will help eliminate uncontrolled off-road vehicle use, which ravages sensitive soils and sensitive desert tortoise habitat. Irresponsible vehicle use, vandalism, theft and littering are destroying rock art sites and other pieces of Gold Butte's priceless archaeological heritage.
A combination of wilderness and national conservation
area status will provide Gold Butte the management presence and information visitors
need in order to learn how to respect this under-appreciated national treasure.
Please take a moment right now to write the following Congressmen and Senators, and let them know you support legislation to protect Gold Butte. Some reasons why are listed below.
Contact info for Nevada's delegation
More info on Gold Butte
In May 2010, the Clark County Commission overwhelmingly
voted to support the Gold Butte National Conservation Area with Wilderness
of Clark County's resolution supporting Gold Butte);
Also in May 2010, the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians passed
a resolution supporting protection of Gold Butte;
The Mesquite City Council passed Resolution #649 in support
of Gold Butte (October 2009);
here for more about Gold Butte.
How to take action:
Something to Ponder