Dec. 23, 2022 - Today, President Biden signed into law H.R.7776 - James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023. This bill, which was approved by both the House and Senate earlier in the month designed more than 182,000 acres of new Wilderness Area, marking the first time since 2014 that new Wilderness has been added to the previous inventory of 3.4 million acres in Nevada. The new Wilderness areas are the Clan Alpine Mountains (128,362 in Churchill County), the Desatoya Mountains (40,303 acres in Churchill and Lander Counties), and the Cain Mountain Wilderness Area (14,050 acres in Churchill and Lander Counties).
In addition, Congress created the Numunaa Nobe National Conservation Area which encompasses much of the Stillwater Range and the Numu Newe Special Management Area to help protect important cultural values. In total there are more than 500,000 acres of new conservation protections.
The designations are part of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, which was signed into law by President Biden today.
“There is much to celebrate as this year comes to a close,” Friends Executive Director Shaaron Netherton said on House passage of the bill. “New Wilderness and Conservation Area designations provide greater protection of wildlife habit and cultural resources and keeps these special places open to the public.”
These newly designated areas provide beautiful scenery, interesting geology, hiking and camping opportunities, as well as valuable wildlife habitat for desert bighorn sheep, Greater Sage-Grouse, Golden Eagles and many other species.
While earlier versions of the measure contained additional conservation designations, Friends is grateful to Congressman Mark Amodei, and Senators Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto for their efforts in navigating a difficult legislative process to get to the current outcome that also includes provisions long sought by Indigenous communities in Nevada.
“It’s become more and more difficult it seems to move conservation-oriented legislation through Congress,” Netherton added. “That’s why here at Friends we invest so much time and energy reaching out to affected communities and working with our Congressional delegation to reach common sense agreements. We have more work to do in the next Congress and we look forward to it with the same level of commitment we’ve always had to keeping much of Nevada wild and open to us all.”
Read more here.
The proposed new Clan Alpines Wilderness Area
Photo by Kurt Kuznicki
The former Stillwaters Wilderness Study Area and proposed new National Conservation Area
Photo by Kirk Peterson