Together, We Can Preserve Wilderness and Save The Desert National Wildlife Refuge!
Dear Senator Dean Heller, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, Congresswoman Dina Titus, Congressman Mark Amodei, Congressman Ruben Kihuen, and Congresswoman Jacky Rosen,
I am writing to you today to express my concerns on the current military expansion proposals in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge from the Nellis Test and Training Range.
I am very concerned about the 300,000 acres of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge that the Nellis Test and Training Range seeks to withdraw. Designated 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 the Great Basin and Mojave Desert ecosystems. Also, 70% of the Desert Refuge was previously proposed for wilderness by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The currently proposed military expansion would irreparably destroy these wilderness quality landscapes, threaten the wildlife populations that thrive in them, and shut out the public from areas that have historically been heavily used for outdoor recreation.
Over 1.3 million acres of the Desert Refuge is proposed wilderness. Within the Desert Refuge lies some of the most pristine habitat left in the United States. These lands have been managed as wilderness since 1974 and should remain untouched for future generations. The Sheep Range, Hole-In-The-Rock, and Desert-Pintwater Ranges contain some of these proposed wilderness areas and are prime habitat for our state animal the Desert Bighorn. Originally, the Desert Refuge was created specifically to protect the habitat of the Desert Bighorn. We need to ensure the Refuge's objective is not disregarded.
Overall, this landscape is an ecologically rich and vast complex of wild public lands for wildlife, cultural sites, and outdoor recreation. The currently proposed military expansions would irreparably destroy these wilderness qualities, shut off public access, and significantly harm wildlife habitat. I urge you to stay engaged on these expansions and to reject any congressional amendments that you might encounter this congressional session that will include Nellis Test and Training Range expansion.
Thank you for your continued leadership on public lands issues in Nevada.