Dear Nellis Air Force Base:
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 is proposed for Wilderness by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Desert National Wildlife Refuge is not only a refuge for wildlife but also a refuge from people who enjoy sitting in a quiet landscape, exploring canyons, playing on sand dunes or enjoying a long scenic drive with their family.
I am writing to you today to express my concerns on the current military expansion and withdrawal proposals in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge from the Nevada Test and Training Range. The currently proposed military expansion would irreparably destroy 850,000 acres of these Wilderness-quality landscapes, threaten the wildlife populations that thrive in them, and shut out the public from areas that have historically been used for outdoor recreation.
I am in favor of Alternative 1 of the Legislative Environmental Impact Statement which would allow our armed forces to train on the range as it is today. I am not in favor ofAlternative 2 which would transfer primary jurisdiction from the US Fish & Wildlife Service or Alternative 3 or any of its sub-alternates which would result in a net expansion of the NTTR.
In addition, I would like to see that all of the proposed Wilderness outside of the current NTTR boundaries be designated as Wilderness and to continue to provide for public access.
Overall, this landscape is an ecologically rich and a vast complex of wild public lands for wildlife, cultural sites, and outdoor recreation. The Desert Refuge was created specifically to protect the habitat of the desert bighorn. We need to ensure the Desert Refuge's objective is not disregarded.
cc: Nevada Congressional Delegation