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Reid supports wilderness in Lyon County! You can too!

Help Mt. Rose with your gift of gab this Saturday, 9/1 [Your invitation]

Sweating but smiling in southern Nevada

Wildfires challenge wilderness health

BLM summer wilderness inventory crew 2012

Sheldon fence-pulling success

Register today for Desert Conference XXVI

Upcoming events and volunteer projects

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August 30, 2012

Reid supports wilderness in Lyon County! You can too!

Senator Harry Reid announced last week that he will support a land-transfer bill for the city of Yerington — considered a major cog in the revitalization of Lyon County’s copper mining industry — if it includes the establishment of a wilderness area.

photo: East Walker River and Sweetwater Mountains (c) Brian Beffort
Ancient cottonwoods along the East Walker River and stunning views of the Sweetwater Mountains can be found in the proposed Wovoka Wilderness in Lyon County. (c) Brian Beffort

This means the proposed Wovoka Wilderness could receive the permanent protection it deserves. Named after the Native American spiritual leader who was born and raised in this area, long-supported by caring locals in Lyon County, and located at the southern stretch of the Pine Grove Hills between Wellington and Bridgeport, this area includes world-class fly-fishing along the East Fork Walker River, sage grouse and bighorn habitat and sensitive archaeological resources that are threatened by expanding off-road vehicle use.

You can help the proposed Wovoka Wilderness get the highest protection public land can receive — Congressional wilderness designation. Please take a few minutes RIGHT NOW to call or write Senator Reid and thank him for supporting wilderness in Lyon County (Find Senator Reid's contact information here).

You may also read a Reno Gazette-Journal article about the proposal.

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Help Mt. Rose with your gift of gab this Saturday, 9/1 You are invited!

sticker: posterized Mt Rose photo with text: Mt Rose Wilderness is my backyard
We'll have these brand new stickers available for volunteers and for sale.
Contact: Alli Harvey or (775) 324-7667

Are you proud of the incredible wilderness area located so close to urban Reno? Do you want to meet people from all walks of life who love Mt. Rose as much as you do? Do you want to inspire others to join Friends of Nevada Wilderness? Join us this weekend at Mt. Rose!

This Saturday, September 1st, Friends of Nevada Wilderness volunteers will head up to the Mt. Rose trailhead to make friends with other trail users and meet potential new members. We'll have cookies, lemonade, stickers, and info about who we are and what we do. It's supposed to be a beautiful Labor Day weekend, and we anticipate a busy hiking day, and lots of opportunities to sign people up!

One crew will be stationed up at the wilderness boundary about 3 miles in, and another crew will be at the trailhead. Whether you are up for the challenge of packing cookies, lemonade and lightweight tabling materials up to the boundary, or would like to be the first to offer something cold to a thirsty hiker at the trailhead, your help would be fantastic.

We'll be there from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. Volunteer shifts are flexible.

If you cannot make this one, please consider these upcoming trips.

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Sweating but smiling in southern Nevada

It has been a hot summer in southern Nevada, but the leaves are beginning to change from green to gold in the Mt Charleston Wilderness, and cooler temps are on their way.

The cooling weather allows us to get back out to some of our favorite places. Friends' southern Nevada crew has lined up some fun, rewarding volunteer projects for you this fall: restoration and trail building in the Muddy Mountains and the Death Valley Triangle; floating down the Colorado River, removing tamarisk; removing obsolete water tanks in the Bridge Canyon Wilderness, and great National Public Lands Day projects in Desert National Wildlife Refuge and in Gold Butte.

Each of these projects, and more, is listed in the trips below, and on Friends' events page.

Friends offers projects for all ages and abilities, so please roll up your sleeves, pitch in and help keep southern Nevada Wild. We cannot do this important work without your help and support. And keep your eyes open for more trips, which we’ll post as our plans come together.

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Wildfires challenge wilderness health

photo: A wall of smoke and flame shows the Lost Fire raging across the land (c) Bruce Van Dyke
A wall of smoke and flame shows the Lost Fire raging across the land (c) Bruce Van Dyke

Speaking of wildfires, August was a tense month, as northwest Nevada was pounded by fires, affecting habitat for sage grouse and other animals.

  • Lost Fire: Burned near Wall Canyon WSA and into the High Rock Canyon and Little High Rock Canyon Wilderness areas (61,541 acres);

  • Rush Fire: Burned a number of WSAs along the CA/NV border totaling 315,577 acres;

  • Hanson Fire: Burned a little into the Santa Rosa Wilderness and other FS and BLM lands near Paradise Valley;

  • Holloway Fire: Burned Disaster Peak WSA and extensive sage-grouse habitat with its 461,000 acres roughly divided between OR and NV.

It’s too early to tell whether these fires were fast, relatively cool and potentially healthy for the land, or whether they were too hot and potentially destructive to native plant communities and wildlife habitat. In order to make sure these areas recover their health (and not get overrun by cheat grass or other invasive species), they are going to need extensive rehabitilation. We will be asking our volunteers to help with seed collection, erosion stabilization projects and spring seedling planting. Stay tuned.

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BLM summer wilderness inventory crew 2012

As the longest day of the year brought the sun to its northern standstill high over the deserts of Nevada, Friends finished outfitting two trucks for a season of wilderness inventory work in the BLM Battle Mountain district. Four intrepid crew members drove their trucks into the wilds of Esmeralda and Nye counties to investigate a half-million acres and document the wilderness characteristics and potential of these arid and remote lands.

photo: Lonely, but beautiful, country in the Confusion Hills, east of Morey Peak (c) Kirk Peterson
Lonely, but beautiful, country in the Confusion Hills, east of Morey Peak (c) Kirk Peterson

Working conditions and weather varied as wildly as the land itself — from sweltering, 106-degree days to a century-event thunderstorm that closed highways US 95 and US 6 and completely eradicated routes the crews had documented only days before.

The crew members brought a wealth of experience, knowledge, and diverse perspectives to their work. But after work, as they settled in for a magnificent sunset or secured their camp against a sudden thunderstorm, the topics of wilderness, solitude, and unconfined recreation filtered through their evening conversations like the last rays of the setting sun sift through a pinyon pine forest. A love of wilderness and an opportunity to ensure that future generations will never know a world without wilderness united these crews into a dedicated and effective work force.

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Sheldon fence-pulling success

photo: Monument to scrap (c) Caleb Burke
Monument to scrap - one of many piles of fencing removed from the Sheldon (c) Caleb Burke

Volunteers and Friends’ field crew achieved Herculean success by removing most of the remaining barbed-wire fence that threatened pronghorn, sage grouse and other wildlife. Unfortunately, summer wildfires shut down our operations. Our final fence-pull will be rescheduled for a later date — we’ll keep you posted as our plans form.

Until then, read about our success in the most recent Nevada Magazine.

And here are a few words of appreciation from our partners at the Fish and Wildlife Service:

“I wanted to pass along this great article and give a huge thanks to Friends of Nevada Wilderness, who have been front and center in this great effort to restore Sheldon NWR, and to all the other partners and individuals who have donated weekends, money, and quite a few pairs of gloves and jeans (and they proudly show off the scars to prove it!).

“With the friendships, discovery of nature and wild places, and the passion for conservation the many outings have fostered—the benefits of course go far beyond the rolls of barbed wire.”

Aaron Collins, Park Ranger/Outdoor Recreation Planner, Sheldon-Hart Mtn. NWR Complex

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Register today for Desert Conference XXVI

September 20-22, 2012

The 26th Desert Conference, hosted by Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) and sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Sierra Club, is less than a month away! Reserve your spot today and join land managers, conservation organizations, academics and desert advocates for a weekend of education and inspiration.

The Wild and Scenic Film Festival will open the event on Thursday, September 20th at the Old Stone Church in Bend, followed by panels on Friday and Saturday covering a variety of desert issues. Stretch your legs and breathe in the fall air on one of several guided hikes Saturday afternoon. See the agenda for a full event schedule (Note: you have to scroll down the page to find their "Draft Agenda" link).

It wouldn't be Desert Conference without a lineup of expert panelists, distinguished speakers, (among them Kathleen Dean Moore and Ursula K. Le Guin) and an opportunity to mingle with guest and friends while enjoying home-grown bluegrass.

Your $50 registration fee gives you access to all panels, speakers, guided hikes and social events. Discounted hotel rates are now available. Visit for more information and to REGISTER. We hope you can join us!

View the conference poster.

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You are invited: events and wilderness volunteer projects

Friends of Nevada Wilderness offers up lots of fun opportunities to help your Nevada wildlands heal and prosper.

September 4 - 5   Bonanza Trail tree clearing (and backpack) Remove downed trees to help the trail. (Mt Charleston Wilderness - just west of Las Vegas.) - email Kurt to RSVP or call (775) 745-3119.

September 14 - 16   National Public Lands Day - Santa Rosa Range (1 hour north of Winnemucca. FAMILY FRIENDLY) - email Brenna to RSVP or call (775) 623-5656.

September 21 - 23   National Public Lands Day at Trego Hot Springs (Black Rock Desert - 3 hours north of Reno. FAMILY FRIENDLY) - email Pat to RSVP. or call (775) 815-5598.

September 29   Cow Camp post-and-cable fence installation (Desert National Wildlife Refuge - just north of Las Vegas.) - email Jose Witt or call Jose at (702) 203-1720.

October 6   Southern Nevada Trails Day Celebration (at Henderson - 9am to 1pm - FAMILY FRIENDLY).

October 12 - 13   Gold Butte Days Festival (at Mesquite - FAMILY FRIENDLY) - For more info call (702) 346-2902.

October 13   Plant natives at Corn Creek (Desert National Wildlife Refuge - just north of Las Vegas.) - email Jose Witt or call Jose at (702) 203-1720.

October 16 - 17   Phinney Canyon road naturalization (Death Valley Wilderness - 3 to 4 hours northwest of Las Vegas.) - email Jose Witt or call Jose at (702) 203-1720.

October 22 - 26   Muddy Mountains restoration days (Muddy Mountains Wilderness - just east of Las Vegas.) - email Jose Witt or call Jose at (702) 203-1720.

New projects will be announced in later emails. See also the stewardship events page.