Gold Butte National Monument is one of the four National Monuments the Trump administration wants to slash! On December 4th, President Trump traveled to Utah to announce his plans to gut the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments to allow for fossil fuel development. On December 5th, the ax fell on Nevada's Gold Butte National Monument when Secretary Zinke's final National Monument Review Report was released. We will release more details as they become available, along with how you can take action!
Below is an excerpt from the report detailing the recommendations for Gold Butte, followed by links to the National Monument Proclamation from December 2016, the National Monument Review Final Report in full, and the Department of Interior's press release.
The Gold Butte section of Zinke's Report:
• The Gold Butte National Monument (GBNM) was established by Presidential
Proclamation No. 9559 on December 28, 2016, and consists of 296,937 acres managed
by BLM and the Bureau of Reclamation in Clark County, Nevada.
• The resources identified in the Proclamation include the biologic, archaeologic, and areas
of spiritual significance to American Indian tribes.
• There have been multiple legislative attempts to designate this area under protective land
designations, beginning in 2008 and concluding in 2015, which were unsuccessful.
• Lands within GBNM are managed with some level of a protective designation, either
under the existing land-use plan or as designated Wilderness (28,787 acres) or
Wilderness Study Areas (28,454 acres). The GBNM is also overlapped by Areas of
Critical Environmental Concern designated by BLM.
• The local water district has historic water rights for six springs and provides water for the
City of Mesquite. Five of the six water district springs are located within the boundaries
• The GBNM Proclamation inaccurately states that livestock has not been permitted in the
GBNM area since 1998 and therefore prevents issuing any new grazing permits or leases.
In fact, there are four active grazing allotments administered by the Arizona Strip
District, either fully or partially contained within GBNM, which have been authorized
• The Proclamation should be amended, through the use of appropriate authority, including
lawful exercise of your discretion granted by the Act, to ensure compliance with the
provisions and intent of the Act while also prioritizing public access; infrastructure
upgrades, repair, and maintenance; traditional use; tribal cultural use; and hunting and
fishing rights. The proclamation should also be amended to address inaccuracies related
to active grazing allotments.
• The boundary should be revised through the use of appropriate authority, including
lawful exercise of your discretion granted by the Act, to ensure that the monument
reservation is limited to the smallest area compatible with the protection of the objects
identified and protect historic water rights.
• You should request congressional authority to enable tribal co-management of designated
cultural areas within the revised GBNM boundaries.
• The management plan should be developed to protect objects and prioritize public access;
infrastructure upgrades, repair, and maintenance; traditional use; tribal cultural use; and
hunting and fishing rights.
• The DOI should work with Congress to secure funding for adequate infrastructure and
management needs to protect objects effectively.
On December 28, 2016, President Obama designated Gold Butte as a National Monument. Gold Butte, Nevada’s piece of the Grand Canyon, is home to countless cultural, historic, and natural wonders that make this area so unique and are now preserved for future generations. For decades, Nevadans have been working to protect the nationally significant cultural, historic, and natural treasures in Gold Butte and today their hard work has paid off.
Here are other documents relevant to the review:
The new Gold Butte National Monument covers nearly 300,000 acres of remote and rugged desert landscape in southeastern Nevada, where dramatically chiseled red sandstone, twisting canyons, and tree-clad mountains punctuate desolate stretches of the Mojave Desert. The brightly hued sandstone provides a stunning canvas for the area’s famously beautiful rock art, and the desert provides critical habitat. The area is popular for outdoor recreation, and visitors to the monument can hike to rock art sites, drive the Gold Butte Backcountry Byway to the area’s namesake mining ghost town, hunt desert bighorn sheep, or tour the area’s peaks and canyons on horseback.
Gold Butte National Monument lies east of the Overton Arm of Lake Mead, west of the Arizona border, south of Virgin Peak, and north of the Colorado River. In this region, the Great Basin, Mojave, Sonoran and Colorado Plateau eco-regions all meet, each contributing a colorful piece to the region.
Why National Monument?
A Gold Butte National Monument will enhance the region's status as an important destination for tourism, while protecting important resources from ongoing damage from unregulated activities.
A National Monument status will rectify Gold Butte's status as the unprotected orphan of Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument and the missing piece of the Grand Canyon puzzle, both of which lie in Arizona. Gold Butte contains equally beautiful and valuable landscape, wildlife and cultural history, separated only by an arbitrary state line.
Permanent protection will provide greater protection to numerous wildlife species, including desert tortoise, desert bighorn sheep, the banded Gila monster, great horned owls and a great variety of reptiles, birds and mammals.
Permanent protection will safeguard Gold Butte's abundant archaeological resources, including rock art, caves, agave roasting pits and camp sites dating back at least 3,000 years.
Permanent protection will help the public preserve, protect and understand Gold Butte's historical resources that deserve conservation, including Spanish and pioneer mining camps dating back to the 1700s.
Permanent protection will help eliminate uncontrolled off-road vehicle use, which ravages sensitive soils and sensitive desert tortoise habitat. Irresponsible vehicle use, vandalism, theft and littering are destroying rock art sites and other pieces of Gold Butte's priceless archaeological heritage.
Permanent protection will provide Gold Butte the management presence and information visitors need in order to learn how to respect this under-appreciated national treasure.
Live Monumental for Gold Butte
In July 2015, KEEN Footwear launched Live Monumental - a campaign to advocate for National Monument protection of five key areas in the United States, including Gold Butte. KEEN took to the road to visit each place they're advocating for protection and their aim was to gather 100,000 signatures. Friends of Nevada Wilderness was their local non-profit partner for Nevada and commend KEEN for the amount of support and enthusiasm they've put behind this campaign.
We'd like to thank our business supporters like KEEN for their amazing support of this campaign.
- Poll: 71% of Nevadans Support Designating Gold Butte as a National Monument. Read the results here and to view the poll survey, click here.
- Protecting our National Treasures: Local letter to the editor in Las Vegas newspaper warns that we're running out of time to protect Gold Butte.
- In August 2015, partner organization Friends of Gold Butte released an extensive damage report documenting damage to sensitive cultural and wildlife habitat sites throughout the Gold Butte area. Read the full report here.
In May 2010, the Clark County Commission overwhelmingly voted to support the Gold Butte National Conservation Area with Wilderness (Text of Clark County's resolution supporting Gold Butte);
Also in May 2010, the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians passed a resolution supporting protection of Gold Butte;
The Mesquite City Council passed Resolution #649 in support of Gold Butte (October 2009);
Follow the Gold Butte conversation on social media! Follow #ProtectGoldButte on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.