National Public Lands Day is September 26 and we’re celebrating for many reasons – primarily because Nevada is incredibly rich in public lands that provide us endless opportunities to seek physical, mental and spiritual renewal in the great outdoors. From the arid valleys of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge to the lake-strewn peaks of the Ruby Mountains, we have much to be grateful for.
A whole host of public and non-profit agencies are getting together for some fun to mark the occasion. We invite you to join the virtual celebration!
September 3, 2020 -
Vast stretches of land in rural northwest Nevada will be preserved if Congress can finally pass legislation that would protect wilderness in Pershing County while encouraging economic development.
Please join us, the Basin and Range Dark Sky Cooperative, the Great Basin Observatory and other “luminaries” for a virtually stunning Star Party on Saturday, September 5 from 8 – 9:30 PM.
See LIVE images of star clusters, nebulae, galaxies, planets, and other celestial objects from telescope operators in Nevada and neighboring Oregon. Star Party-goers will learn to use a planisphere, computer software and apps, and how to star hop!
E&E news published this article today showing our Nevada representatives are stepping up to protect the Desert Refuge against this sudden betrayal.
The three Democrats in Nevada's four-member House delegation are pleading with committee chairs to reverse a controversial amendment they say would threaten 840,000 acres of federally protected land in their state.
Reps. Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Steven Horsford want to undo the adoption of an amendment from last week's markup of the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act in the House Armed Services Committee, H.R. 6395, relating to control of Nevada's Desert National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to desert bighorn sheep and endangered Mojave desert tortoises (E&E Daily, July 2).
Thursday, July 9, 2020: The LV Sun published this editorial examining the surprise betrayal to the Desert Refuge. The full article follows and the source can be accessed here.
"House committee’s vote to bomb Nevada is a stunning betrayal
Members of the House Armed Services Committee slapped Nevada hard in the face last week by voting to allow the Air Force to take a huge chunk of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge to use as a bombing range.
Now, it’s up to the state’s House members to slap back and keep this deeply troublesome proposal from being rammed down our throat.
Nevada Representatives are urging house leadership to oppose the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. This press release and a joint letter from the representatives were released today July 8, 2020.
"Washington, D.C. – Representatives Dina Titus (NV-1), Steven Horsford (NV-4) and Susie Lee (NV-3) are urging House leadership to protect the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. In a letter to the Chairs of the House Armed Services and Natural Resources Committees, the Members of Congress argued in opposition to a recent amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021.
“This amendment would directly threaten over 840,000 acres of unique plant and animal habitats in Nevada’s Desert National Wildlife Refuge,” said Reps. Titus, Horsford, and Lee. “The decision to allow this amendment to be included in this legislation , without consulting the members of Nevada’s Congressional Delegation, is particularly concerning… If this matter is not addressed prior to the legislation coming to the House floor, we will file an amendment to strike these provisions.”
The full text of the letter is below:
Last night, July 1st, 2020, the House Armed Services Committee approved an amendment by Rep. Rob Bishop to give away the entire joint use area of the Desert Refuge (850,000 acres) to the Air Force. While the language uses the term “co-management” by the refuge and the military, it also specifically says the military gets to make all the decisions. It will no longer be a refuge for wildlife but a military area where the military has free rein. This is an egregious and colossal mistake by the House. They MUST fix this, and fix it quickly.
It is CRITICAL that we all make calls to our delegation and leave messages urging them to be aggressive in fighting off the attack to the Desert Refuge that came from Rep. Rob Bishop in Utah. The Desert National Wildlife Refuge needs just 15 minutes of your time! Please honor your country and your Wildlife Refuge over this 4th of July weekend and make some calls (you’ll actually leave messages since no one is in the Congressional offices) and let them know that you are outraged by this attack on Nevada and on the Desert Refuge. You can find contact information for your representatives after the flip...
It looks like the transfer of more than 900,000 acres of public land to military ownership just became a little less likely here in Nevada!
"The Senate Armed Services Committee advanced the National Defense Authorization Act last week authorizing $8.15 billion for military construction for the coming fiscal year, but those plans did not include the controversial land expansions of the Naval Air Station Fallon and the Nevada Test and Training Range." Read on for full article from the Nevada Current.
Congress will make the final decision on whether our precious Desert National Wildlife Refuge is protected or whether it will largely be turned into a military base. On June 11th, the Senate Armed Services Committee said no to military expansion in Nevada for both the Nellis Test and Training Range and the Fallon Naval Air Station. Both bases would have their current military withdrawal extended for 20 years - but no new expansions. The House Armed Services Committee should be making their decision of these bases in the next few weeks.
We all find ourselves in uncharted waters from the COVID-19 shutdowns, requiring some skillful navigation in our personal lives. The same is true at Friends of Nevada Wilderness. Like most non-profit organizations, Friends is being impacted by the economic fallout from the pandemic. Stewardship field work, special events, and advocacy efforts are being postponed creating some uncertainty about revenue streams.
After Congress initiated the CARES Act stimulus payments to individuals, and the Giving Tuesday Now campaign was brought into focus, an idea was born. Friends' board Chair Roger Scholl wanted to make a difference to help the organization remain strong going forward. He asked the Friends Board to consider taking action by donating part or all of their individual stimulus payments. The Friends Board enthusiastically responded and has collectively committed $6,500 to help support our work protecting and caring for Wild Nevada! We are grateful for their leadership and hope that their example can inspire others to offer their support with a one-time special gift.