The 1979 BLM Initial Inventory report recommended that 76,800 acres of the Desatoya Mountains (Unit NV-030-110/NV-060-288) be intensively inventoried. As a result of the 1980 Intensive Inventory, 48,150 acres of the Desatoya Mountains were recommended for Wilderness Study Area (WSA) status. The 1983 Lahontan Wilderness Technical Report recalculated the size of the Desatoya Mountains WSA as 51,262 acres. Public comments on the WSA decision for the Desatoya Mountains were made during the 1984 Draft Lahontan Resource Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement hearings and comment periods. In total, 34 written and oral comments were received, 29 supporting Wilderness for the Desatoya Mountains, 5 opposed to Wilderness. The Governor of Nevada's consistency review supported Wilderness for the Desatoya Mountains. The Churchill County Commissioners recognized the wilderness merits of the Desatoya Mountains, but recommended non-wilderness for the area. Lander County Commissioners adopted a resolution generally opposing any wilderness designations in the county. The Final Environmental Impact Statement Wilderness Recommendations for the Lahontan Resource Area were completed and made available to the public in August 1987, it recommended 43,180 acres of the Desatoya Mountains for wilderness designation and 8,222 acres of the WSA would be released for uses other than wilderness.
In 2018 Navy announced plans for the Fallon Range Training Complex Modernization, which included seizing and closing over 550,000 acres of American Public lands in Nevada. A broad, diverse coalition of counties, the state, stakeholders, conservationists, and the public jumped into action to oppose such a egregious assault of public lands. Between 2018 and 2022, the Congress pressed the Navy to work with local stakeholders including the counties, Tribes, State of Nevada, conservationists, land owners and users of public lands. The Navy listened and promptly ignored the input, barely budging from their original proposal for control of over a half-million additional acres of American public lands. In the last months of 2022 however, the Navy’s efforts gained momentum in the U.S. Congress and with the Biden Administration. The coalition changed tactics and focused on wilderness protections for some of the WSAs adjacent to the Fallon expansion. The Desatoya Mountains WSA was one of the areas evaluated, as it is one of the premier WSAs in the State of Nevada. Working with coalition members, FNW help draft boundaries that addressed conflicts and issues with stakeholders. The boundaries of the WSA were trimmed to where the proposal for Desatoya Mountains Wilderness was reduced slightly in the 2023 NDAA to a total of 40,303 acres. Learn more about the campaign and NDAA bill here.