Save the Desert National Wildlife Refuge!

11_11_DNWR_CowCamp_shoot_kuz_6988_89_90_91_92.jpgDON'T BOMB THE BIGHORN: Desert bighorn sheep need YOU to take action! The Desert National Wildlife Refuge, just outside the city lights of Las Vegas, is nearly 1.6 million acres and home to one of Nevada’s largest desert bighorn sheep populations. 1.2 million areas of the Desert Refuge were proposed as Wilderness by the US Fish & Wildlife Service in 1971. Immediately threatened by this round of military expansion is the broader Sheep Range proposed Wilderness (Sheep Range, Las Vegas Range, Gass Peak).

On December 7, 2017, the military released their legislative EIS with details on how much more of the refuge and proposed Wilderness they want to take over - it is a LOT! Sign the petition below to tell the military and our Congressional leaders #DontBombTheBighorn, and keep checking back - once we complete our analysis, we will be updating our page with how you can take further action to help defend the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.

TAKE ACTION: Make a comment and tell the military to leave the Desert Refuge alone!

Don't wait. Submit your comments now. The comment period closes on March 8th, 2018!




The Legislative Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed expansion of the Nellis Air Force Base was released on December 7th, 2017. Public meetings have tentatively been scheduled. We need you to come out to these meetings and be a voice for Wilderness and wildlife in the Desert Refuge!


Jan. 17 - Caliente, NV (Caliente Elementary School)
Jan. 18 - Alamo, NV (Pahranagat Valley High School)
Jan. 23 - Las Vegas (Aliante Casino + Hotel)
Jan. 24 - Beatty, NV (Beatty Community Center)
Jan. 25 - Tonopah, NV (Tonopah Convention Center)


5:00-6:30 pm (open house/comments)
6:30-7:00 pm (USAF presentation)
7:00-9:00 pm (open house/comments)


Click here to read more about the military's jurisdiction over the Desert Refuge, and what's at stake if they intrude further on refuge lands.


In the 1940's, the military gained joint administration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the western half of the Refuge. This eliminated public access and called any future wilderness designation for that portion of the Refuge into question. Now, the Air Force is looking to seize control of most of what's left of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. This would not only threaten wildlife and indefinitely close public access, it would remove the possibility of future wilderness designation for the area. Most of the Refuge was recommended for Wilderness in the 1970’s by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and it is up to us to make sure these high quality wild lands do not become lost forever! The Air Force is currently seeking public comment. It is critical you voice your concerns and oppose any transfer of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge to the military.




Originally protected in 1936 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide habitat for the iconic desert bighorn sheep, the Desert National Wildlife Refuge (DNWR) is the second largest wildlife refuge in the United States and the largest wildlife refuge in the contiguous United States. Since the Refuge was established, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has managed the Refuge to protect its rich biological diversity and wildlife habitat, maintain the integrity of the recommended wilderness areas, and safeguard invaluable cultural resources. The military already controls millions of acres of land in Nevada and they have unlimited ability to fly over the Refuge for training purposes. We have already sacrificed enough of the Desert Refuge, it is time to make a stand for what remains.


Please stand up for one of our nation’s most precious resources – The Desert National Wildlife Refuge with its large tracts of undisturbed wild lands that provide invaluable habitat for threatened, sensitive, and endangered wildlife species.



At the end of 2016, the Department of Defense released a draft of their proposed alternatives to the current management in their scoping plan. They accepted comments about this scoping document and are using the input they received to release another draft of proposed alternatives to management for the Refuge. Thank you to everyone that submitted comments and who attended public meetings to make their voice heard.

Friends of Nevada Wilderness submitted a comprehensive letter that addressed our concerns on impacts to wildlife, proposed wilderness, and public access to the Department of Defense in regards to the expansion proposal.

Read Friends of Nevada Wilderness' submitted letter here



Air Force Proposal


View the Air Force proposal website here.

About the Desert National Wildlife Refuge

Created in 1936 to provide habitat and protection for desert bighorn sheep, the Desert National Wildlife Refuge is the largest refuge in the contiguous United States. Encompassing six major mountain ranges and nearly 1.6 million acres in Nevada, it provides the highest quality, intact habitat for desert bighorn sheep and other wildlife that depend on Great Basin and Mojave Desert ecosystems. With the exponential growth of Las Vegas over the past decades reaching right up to the refuge boundary, this haven for wildlife is critical.

Last year, Senator Harry Reid and Congressman Joe Heck helped prevent the transfer of more than 800,000 acres of National Wildlife Refuge System lands from becoming bombing ranges to the Air Force. Unfortunately, the latest attack on southern Nevada's wild gem, the Desert National Wildlife Refuge is yet again under attack - this time directly under military request.

Don’t Bomb the Bighorn!


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wilderness Appendix for DNWR

Desert National Wildlife Refuge website

Friends of Nevada Wilderness Expansion Comments

History & Timeline of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge

National Wildlife Refuge Association Petition

PBS Outdoor Nevada episode on the Desert National Wildlife Refuge

Related News Articles:

Desert Companion: By Land and By Air 

Las Vegas Review Journal: Conservationists Sound Alarm Over Air Force Plan (Sept. 15, 2016)

Pentagon to Lawmakers: Let Interior Keep Refuge

One View: Proposed Military Base Expansions Threatens 800k Acres

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