Sunday, May 20th, marks 82 years since Franklin D. Roosevelt designated the then Desert Game Range protecting 2.25 million acres of unique desert habitat just 25 miles north of Las Vegas. This stamped out a home for not only the desert bighorn but over 800 species of plants and animals who reside within the Refuge. Now called the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, it is still the largest roadless area in Nevada and the largest wildlife refuge in the lower 48 states. Yet today, more than ever, access to the Desert Refuge is being threatened and could be lost if we don’t take action.
College students look forward to Spring Break each year as a moment to take a break from the rigorous schedule of classes and campus activities. For some students, this time is spent travelling to places like Miami or Cancun in search of escaping normalcy and unwinding in the process. Others head home to see family and friends they've missed while away for school. For 22 Southern Nevada students, the allure of partying or heading to their hometown was not as enticing as a unique and Wild experience here in Nevada.
The Desert National Wildlife Refuge is a sacred place to the Nuwu people. We asked Moapa Band of Paiutes Chairman, Greg Anderson to give us a glimpse into the Desert Refuge through the eyes of the people indigenous to the land we now call Southern Nevada. He explains what the nah'gah (desert bighron) and the land mean to Paiute people as only a member could. Please listen to his words.
For the past few weeks, public hearings were held near the Nevada Testing and Training Range (NTTR) in the towns of Caliente, Alamo, Beatty, Tonopah and Las Vegas, Nevada regarding the Air Force's proposed land withdrawal from the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. These series of public hearings are part of the process of public acknowledgement and involvement in this withdrawal ask which ends in a vote by Congressional action sometime before 2021. The largest turnout occurred at the January 23rd meeting in Las Vegas as over 250 people packed into a meeting room located at the Aliante Casino + Hotel.
Now that the Air Force has released its LEIS (Legislative Environmental Impact Study) for their proposed land withdrawal from the Desert Refuge, there are a lot of unanswered questions. For those among us that had the time to thumb through the over 2,000-page proposal, one thing was made clear: The military is looking to gut the Desert National Wildlife Refuge of an additional 300,000 acres and destroy proposed Wilderness, unique habitat, and wildlife along the way. Why? We will try to explain.
December 28, 2017 marks the one-year anniversary for the designation of Gold Butte National Monument. This was a monumental occasion for all of Gold Butte’s supporters who worked tirelessly for 15 years for protections provided by the Antiquities Act. A local in Mesquite by the name of Nancy Hall was the first person who successfully organized an effort to get Gold Butte protected. From humble beginnings in 2003 to celebrating a year of being a National Monument, while also fighting executive proclamation to reduce the size of its borders, Gold Butte’s plight has always rested solely on the shoulders of advocates.
When Congress signed the Nevada Wilderness Protection Act of 1989, 13 new Wilderness areas totaling 733,400 acres were added to the National Wilderness Preservation System, including some of the most well-known wild places in the Silver State. Without the Nevada Wilderness Protection Act of 1989, iconic areas managed by the Forest Service like Mt. Rose and Mt. Charleston would be left unprotected from development and commercial resource extraction. Today, we’re highlighting just a few of these special places that are forever protected thanks to the Nevada Wilderness Protection Act of 1989.
This year, instead of taking part in the mass consumer frenzy known as Black Friday, REI and Friends of Nevada Wilderness is urging YOU to #OptOutside on Friday, November 24th. And be sure to tag #OptOutside and #nevadawilderness when sharing pictures from your outdoor adventures!
Marge Sill (Dec. 2, 1923 - Oct. 23, 2016) was already a luminary in the conservation world when I met her. At events and meetings, we warmed ourselves in her presence, in her kind and measured words, in the little lessons she taught us each time we saw her.
A few weeks ago, it was brought to our attention that unidentified hikers along the North Loop trail in Mt. Charleston Wilderness had marked dozens of trees with orange paint. The selfish and irresponsible acts shocked and confused many of us in the outdoor community of Southern Nevada. Who would deface so many trees along a popular trail in the Spring Mountains? What was the motive to splash orange paint and arrows on so many trees?