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The Benefits of National Wildlife Refuges

The second week of October is dedicated to the celebration of America’s National Wildlife Refuges. These ecological safe-houses are the life vein for many species of plants and animals who would die out without these protective borders. The National Wildlife Refuge System was created to be a “national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of the present and future generations of Americans." Many Americans live near refuges but few know why they exist, how they work or what are the benefits. Let's take a closer look. 

Finding Refuge: Summers on the Sheldon Shape Young Conservationists

For seven years, the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge has molded a generation of conservationists. Each summer, a hardy crew spends three months living on the refuge and working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, pulling out old fence and range developments, packing the metal out for miles to dirt roads for pickup. 

Not only do they leave the refuge a better place - the refuge leaves them better people. In celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week, we're sharing their story.

Public Lands Day: Celebrate Wilderness By Giving Back

The Wilderness Act, signed on September 3, 1964, allows Congress to designate Wilderness, but it’s up to people like you to care for it. Join Friends of Nevada Wilderness on National Public Lands Day as we celebrate our public lands in America and the volunteers who care for them. Plus, our state gets the bonus of our first Nevada Public Lands Day, too! Senate Bill 413, signed by Governor Brian Sandoval on June 1, 2017, establishes the last Saturday in September of each year as “Public Lands Day” in Nevada. An official Public Lands Day serves as an annual reminder to our elected officials that Nevadans value our public lands and want to keep them public.

Over 85% of Nevada is public land – now it’s your turn to give back! Continue reading to find out how you can celebrate Public Lands Day in the Black Rock National Conservation Area, the city of Reno, or Gold Butte National Monument.

Heading Forward, Looking Back: A Timeline of Wilderness in Nevada

The Wilderness Act, signed into law on September 3, 1964, has created 70 Wilderness areas in Nevada that include ecosystems ranging from lower sagebrush steppes and the Mojave Desert to high alpine areas and Bristlecone-dotted ridgelines. And the very best part of these magnificent Wilderness areas? They belong to you! Designated Wilderness is part of your public lands system, so all Americans have the opportunity to visit these areas and soak in their natural beauty. Let’s take a look back in time to better understand the impact of this bedrock conservation law and appreciate how it has protected the places in Nevada we love, for many generations to come.

After 53 Years, Why The Wilderness Act Is More Valid Today

On September 3, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wilderness Act into law. The long-awaited realization of Howard Zahniser of The Wilderness Society, and so many more, finally made a lasting stamp on American ideology as the Wilderness Act permanently redefined the future of American growth and development. This important piece of legislation defined wilderness as "an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain." A concept of environmental awareness and man's responsibility to the land that gives him life, was solidified and became a platform for conservation efforts on behalf of groups like ours all those decades ago. Today, Nevada boasts 70 Wilderness Areas.

The words and sentiments that embody the Wilderness Act, although 53 years old, are just as valid today - perhaps even more so. Here's why.

BLM Proposes Red Rock Canyon Fee Increase

The cost to enter the 13 mile scenic loop at Red Rock National Conservation Area and other associated sites may see its first increase since 2011. But first, The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public opinion for these proposed amenity fee increases which are aimed to cover "preservation, recreation, public enjoyment and visitor experience management goals". The public is invited to weigh in on these proposed increases and, don't worry, there are several ways to get involved.

5 Reasons to Save the Desert National Wildlife Refuge

The Desert National Wildlife Refuge is a hidden gem sprawled across 1.6 million acres of the Southern Nevada landscape. Located just 25 miles northwest of downtown Las Vegas, the Desert Refuge provides hiking, birding, hunting, horseback riding, Jeeping adventures, backpacking, and camping activities on fee-free public land. Sounds great, right?

Local Leaders And Advocates Address Secretary Zinke's Visit

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's long awaited visit to Nevada's National Monuments was cut short in lieu of an emergency cabinet meeting. A Monday meeting was previously scheduled between the Secretary and his staff and public lands advocates which included elected officials, Tribal members, business and community leaders. This meeting, however, was abruptly cancelled in light of a Washington DC shake up. Unfortunately, public land advocates did not get the chance we desperately wanted to dialogue with Secretary Zinke in favor of Basin & Range and Gold Butte National Monuments. But we are a resilient bunch! A last minute press conference was held to address the community's concerns with Secretary Zinke's modified visit to Nevada.

The Fight to Keep Our Monuments Continues

President Donald Trump’s call for a presidential review of National Monuments united millions of outdoor enthusiasts in support of our protected public lands. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is tasked with providing the President with recommendations on the 27 National Monuments under review. Secretary Zinke may recommend that these National Monuments may be left as they are, have their borders reduced, or the designation rescinded in the forthcoming months. The first portion of this process, the public comment period, is now over. Thankfully, over 2.7 million comments were submitted in support of America’s National Monuments! However, we need to keep the pressure on the Department of the Interior and remind them that Nevadans love our national monuments!

Rally ‘Round Our Public Lands

Concern is mounting after President Donald Trump’s Executive Order to review all National Monuments designated after January 1st 1996. This review includes Nevada's Gold Butte and Basin and Range National Monuments. Following the Executive Order, the Department of the Interior opened a comment period to invite the public to weigh in on these 27 national monuments under review. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is tasked with reviewing these comments, visiting with local government officials and other stakeholders, and touring the national monument lands. This past week, Secretary Zinke visited Nevada - not to meet with local stakeholders but to hold a closed door meeting in Lake Tahoe and a press only event in Pahrump. Nevadans showed up at both events to let him know that we love our public lands and National Monuments!

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