U.S. Military Will Soon Release Proposal for Sheep Range
The pristine Sheep Range Proposed Wilderness. Photo by Kurt Kuznicki.
The Desert National Wildlife Refuge, found on the northern edge of Las Vegas, is the largest wildlife refuge in the lower 48 states of the U.S. At nearly 1.6 million acres, the Desert Refuge encompasses six mountain ranges and seven life zones that support nearly 500 plant species and a huge number of animals like the Golden Eagle, Roadrunner, Pygmy Owl, pronghorn and the iconic desert bighorn sheep. Yet again, the Desert Refuge is under assault by the U.S. Military.
The magnificent Sheep Range - the largest roadless area in Nevada - has been managed to protect its incredible wilderness values since the 1970’s. Long before then, it was home to the native people - you can still see undisturbed petroglyphs and other reminders of their time on the land. Now, backpackers, birders, scouts, and jeepers can discover the area's wild secrets. The only way to keep the U.S. Military from expanding into the Sheep Range, now and in the future, is to finally designate it as the Wilderness.
The U.S. Military’s latest attempts to gain jurisdiction over the Sheep Range Proposed Wilderness will be spearheaded with their formal proposal, due to be released this fall. In the coming months, stay tuned for updates and calls to action as we begin mobilizing our efforts to protect these precious public lands including the magnificent Sheep Range!
TAKE ACTION TODAY: Sign our petition to the Nevada Congressional Delegation asking them to stay engaged on this issue!
National Public Lands Day is September 30th!
Our 2017 Public Lands Rally at the Nevada State Legislature. Photo by Kurt Kuznicki.
September 30th is National Public Lands Day, and this year we have even more reason to celebrate since it's the very first Nevada Public Lands Day! Governor Sandoval signed Senate Bill 413 on June 1st of this year, establishing the last Saturday in September as a Public Lands Day in Nevada. We are so proud of the efforts put forth by Senator Nicole Cannizzaro and the thirteen co-sponsors who introduced this bill which specifically states that Nevadans do not want our public lands to be transferred to state control. 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 in public hands.
And what better way to celebrate the efforts of all those who worked on establishing Public Lands Day in Nevada than getting out and giving back!
Join us in northern Nevada for our 24th annual National Public Lands Day celebration. Friends of Nevada Wilderness will be partnering with Friends of Black Rock-High Rock, Nevada Outdoor School, and the Winnemucca BLM for this weekend stewardship trip. We will be camping out at Soldier Meadows in the Black Rock Desert – High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area, and participating in Desert Dace Days. This project aims to restore critical habitat for the threatened Desert Dace, a fish found only in the hot springs at Soldier Meadows. We will also be installing wilderness boundary makers on the Black Rock Desert. In addition to contributing some time and service to our public lands, there will be plenty of fun to be had over the weekend, including opportunities for folks to hike, explore, and learn about the area. And don’t forget to season up your ol' Cast Iron Ovens and find that secret recipe you've been wanting to try for Saturday night’s Dutch Oven Cook-off and potluck!
Join Friends of Nevada Wilderness in southern Nevada on National Public Lands Day as we team up with Friends of Gold Butte and the Bureau of Land Management to give back to Gold Butte National Monument! Often referred to as Nevada's Piece of the Grand Canyon, Gold Butte is a treasure trove of cultural, historic, and natural wonders. We will be working on various projects throughout the area, including rehabilitating fragile desert habitat and installing signs for the Gold Butte Backcountry Byway. We'll have plenty of water, snacks, and all of the gear we need to make a difference. Breakfast and a t-shirt will be provided for everyone who joins!
Welcome Our New Friends of Nevada Wilderness Staff
Left: Ashlyn Moreno Center: Nick Scritchfield Right: Shi-Lynn Campbell
Ashlyn Moreno began with us at the start of the year as our part-time Grant Coordinator, and is now an irreplaceable part of the team as our full-time Communications and Operations Coordinator. Ashlyn’s experience on field crews across wild Nevada gives her deep passion for the Sagebrush State and the people caring for it, and enables her to provide first-hand knowledge of what is needed administratively to support and care for the land and the people.
Nick Scritchfield joined us in July and brings a passion for biodiversity and experience leading on-the-ground restoration trips on public lands. Originally from Wisconsin, Nick founded a conservation nonprofit in his home state and was instrumental in protecting over 4,000 acres of wild land in South America before becoming a full-time team member with Friends. Join us on a southern Nevada stewardship trip, and you can meet our newest Stewardship Coordinator, Nick!
Shi-Lynn Campbell joined the team in May as our Communications and Media Coordinator, based in Las Vegas. Thanks to a background in Business Administration and Marketing, Shi-Lynn is the perfect fit to craft our social media strategy, and provides a strong bridge between our northern and southern offices. Conservation isn’t just a job to Shi-Lynn – in his off-time, he enjoys leading photography hikes and educating his daughter on the wonders wild Nevada holds.
Updates from the Field
Friends of Nevada Wilderness at Burning Man
Our Membership & Design Coordinator Dan Alvey after a dusty day talking to people at Burning Man. Photo by Nora Kaufmann.
The Bureau of Land Management once again invited Friends of Nevada Wilderness to help them host the BLM Interpretive Camp at Burning Man. The annual arts festival draws 60,000+ participants from all over the world to the Black Rock Desert, a place we love and know well. Four staff members from our Northern Nevada team were excited for the opportunity to share with festivalgoers everything that makes the Black Rock Desert – High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area such a special place, and to educate them about the importance of practicing Leave No Trace while enjoying their time there. Altogether, we made contact with approximately 6,600 people during the week. We thoroughly enjoyed the meaningful conversations we got to take part in, even if we had to get a little dusty to do so!
Thank you to the BLM Winnemucca District Office for inviting us to join you at Burning Man for the second year in a row. We had a fantastic time working alongside your team!
Another Successful Season in Sheldon Wildlife Refuge
A pronghorn surveys his kingdom. Photo by Michael Sirriani
Between 2009 and August 2017, crews and volunteers with Friends of Nevada Wilderness have worked on the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge with the Fish and Wildlife Service staff and partner organizations like the Sierra Club to restore wildlife habitat by removing over 30,000 pounds of metal debris and almost 300 miles of fence. Established in 1931, the Sheldon Refuge provides year-round habitat as well as major wintering areas for the Oregon-Nevada interstate pronghorn herd, and contains some of Nevada's highest quality sage-grouse habitat. Much of the refuge has also been formally recommended for Wilderness. Stay tuned for more details on the Summer of Sheldon 2017!
Maintaining Las Vegas' Favorite Hiking Trail
Friends of Nevada Wilderness staff and volunteers have been hard at work this summer maintaining 3.5 miles of the Trail Canyon and North Loop trails in the Mt. Charleston Wilderness. Over the course of four weekends, our Southern Nevada Stewardship team hosted 30+ volunteers on trail maintenance projects that worked on widening narrow sections of the trail, clearing trees, installing steps, improving switchback landings, installing drainage features and preventing erosion. Volunteers were invited to camp out with Friends of Nevada Wilderness staff during these weekend projects, and those who joined our team in the field were treated to a warm chili dinner under the starry night sky.
A big thank you to the Back Country Horsemen of Nevada Bristlecone Chapter for packing up camp gear, tools, and water. Their efforts allowed us to do maintenance work further along the trail than we're usually able to. We would also like to thank the U.S. Forest Service for partnering with us on these projects, which were made possible by the Recreational Trails Program and the Mt. Charleston License Plate Grant.
September 22 - 24: Little High Rock Canyon Fence Pull: Join us for a weekend of stewardship! We will be partnering with the Surprise Valley BLM to improve pronghorn habitat by removing old and unnecessary fencing materials that cause a wildlife entanglement hazard in an important migration corridor. There will be great food and fun to be had, including a birthday celebration for one of our favorite staff members!
September 29 - October 1: National Public Lands Day: Help us celebrate National Public Lands Day! We will be partnering with Friends of Black Rock-High Rock, Nevada Outdoor School, and the Winnemucca BLM for our 24th annual National Public Lands Day event. This year we will continue efforts to restore critical Desert Dace habitat in the Soldier Meadows area. We will also install wilderness boundary markers on the Black Rock Desert. And don’t forget to season up your ol' Cast Iron Ovens and find that secret recipe you've been wanting to try for the Dutch Oven Cook-off/Potluck!
October 6 - 8: Black Rock Wilderness Boundary Marking: Come out and enjoy the crisp fall weather for a beautiful weekend in the Black Rock Desert. We will be partnering with the Winnemucca BLM to install wilderness boundary markers on the playa.
October 20 - 22: Central Nevada Sage Grouse Habitat Restoration: Don’t miss out on this opportunity to participate in our ONLY project in Central Nevada this season! We are partnering with the USFS to work on removing Pinyon and Juniper trees that are encroaching on critical Sage Grouse habitat. If we’re lucky, we may see the end of the fall colors.
September 30: National Public Lands Day at Gold Butte National Monument:
Join Friends of Nevada Wilderness as we team up with Friends of Gold Butte and the Bureau of Land Management to give back to Gold Butte National Monument on National Public Lands Day! We will be rehabilitating fragile desert habitat and installing signs for the Gold Butte Backcountry Byway. Breakfast and T-shirts will be provided to all who volunteer with us on this event.October 5: Wild Speaker Series:
Friends of Nevada Wilderness is hosting the Wild Speaker Series at the REI in Boca Park. This free event is from 6:45 - 8:00 in the evening. Stay tuned for details on our great guest speaker for October!
November 17: Wild and Scenic Film Festival:
Friends of Nevada Wilderness is hosting the 5th annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival at the Clark County Theater in Las Vegas. Our event will include inspiring films, a community reception, and an exciting raffle with awesome prizes! Tickets are on sale now: $10 for pre-sale, $5 for kids under 12 years old. All tickets the day of the Festival are $15.
For a complete list of upcoming events, click here
Become a Member Today
"Philanthropy is the rent we pay for the joy and privilege we have for our space on this earth" - Jerold Panas
Become a member of Friends of Nevada Wilderness and support clean air and water, wildlife habitat, and opportunities for people to get out and enjoy the wonders of nature. Your generous donation will go towards getting volunteers on the ground in wilderness areas, advocating for keeping public lands in public hands, and providing critical protection for Nevada's wilderness areas. Membership levels begin at $25 per year.
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Thanks for reading,