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Northern Nevada Public Lands Proposals Moving Ahead

Open House: Your Chance to Protect Massacre Rim Wilderness and Others in Washoe County
Photo by Brian Beffort

The Washoe County public lands proposal is well on its way to bill development and introduction. This summer, the City of Reno passed a resolution to participate in the Washoe County public lands bill process thanks to the HUGE turn-out and submitted comments by wilderness activists such as yourself. The passed resolution by the City of Reno was the latest of a series of support resolutions passed by the Washoe County Commission, the City of Sparks, and the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees.

Now, the Washoe County Commission is hosting two public open houses for you to attend in order to learn more about the public lands proposal, ask questions, and voice your support for wilderness designations here in northern Nevada. If introduced and passed, the Washoe County public lands legislation would designate six new wilderness areas in northern Washoe County, permanently safeguarding these sagebrush ecosystems for future generations.


  • Today September 16th 1:00pm – 3:00pm (RSVP here)
  • Monday, September 19th 4:00pm – 6:30pm  (RSVP here)

Where: Washoe County Administration Complex, Building A – Atrium; 1001 E. 9th Street, Reno NV

Learn more about the Washoe County public lands proposal here.

Pershing_TobinCrest_kkuznicki_8722.jpgProposed Tobin Crest Wilderness receives its first legislative hearing.
Photo by Kurt Kuznicki.

We just received word that the Pershing County Economic Development and Conservation Act will receive its first legislative hearing next week. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will be holding a hearing on a series of public lands bills next Thursday on September 22nd, 6:30am PCT. You can watch live here: An archived video should be available shortly thereafter for public viewing.

The Pershing County public lands bill will designate seven wilderness areas in Pershing County including the rugged Selenite Mountains and the amazing Tobin Crest. Learn more about the campaign here

Desert National Wildlife Refuge Faces New Threats

Air Force proposal seeks to withdraw 300,000 acres of sensitive wildlife habitat and proposed
wilderness in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.
Photo by Jose Witt

Nevadans could lose the largest National Wildlife Refuge in the lower 48 - a Refuge that harbors one of the largest tracts of proposed wilderness, one of the biggest populations of desert bighorn sheep, and one of the most undisturbed acreage of the incredible Mojave Desert. All would be lost if a new proposal by the Air Force goes through, a bid to seize over 300,000 acres of the Sheep Range in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. Most of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge was recommended as wilderness by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service back in the 1970's and have been managed as wilderness since - all would be lost if this proposal goes through.

The Air Force will be holding five public scoping meetings in October for the public to attend, learn more about the proposal, and submit written comments in person. It is imperative that you attend one of the meetings - the last meeting will be held in north Las Vegas at the Aliante Hotel on October 20th. We hope you will be able to attend and make your voice heard to protect one of the crown jewel wild places here in southern Nevada!

TAKE ACTION: Save the date for the public scoping meeting held in Las Vegas. RSVP here.

When: Thursday, October 20 5-9pm
Where: Aliante Hotel, 7300 Aliante Parkway, North Las Vegas, NV

For more information, talking points for commenting, and to let us know you can make it to the meeting, visit our campaign page here.

Help us spread the word - use hashtags #SaveDNWR and #DontBombtheBighorn!

National Monument Designation on the "Golden" Horizon

Protect_GB.jpgThe future of Gold Butte looks to be on the sunny side.

This summer certainly has been a busy one for the Gold Butte National Monument campaign. Last month, Senator Reid with Congresswoman Dina Titus, industry leaders, and community organizations held a press conference to release the second damage report compiled by partner organization, Friends of Gold Butte and call for a Gold Butte National Monument.

Some of the key findings of damage are:
  • Illegal water developments and 22 miles of trenching on the fragile desert floor and in protected desert tortoise habitat
  • Vandalism of historic and cultural sites
  • Deliberate destruction to sensitive plant species and their habitat
  • Illegal vehicle incursions throughout the Gold Butte area
  • Damage to signs and fencing erected to deter trespassing
Shortly thereafter, President Obama traveled to Lake Tahoe for the annual Lake Tahoe Summit, a yearly gathering of community leaders dedicated to the goal of restoring and sustaining Lake Tahoe. Friends of Nevada Wilderness set up a booth to gather petition signatures calling on President Obama to designate Gold Butte as a National Monument. We also passed out hundreds of golden sunglasses. By the time President Obama took the stage, he gave his speech to a massive crowd wearing golden sunglasses with the words "Protect Gold Butte" written on the side.

A National Monument designation for Gold Butte is the way we can ensure this sacred and historic area does not suffer additional damage.

Sign the Gold Butte petition here!

Updates from the Field

Veterans Give Back to Wilderness

Veterans from Team Red, White, and Blue spent the day maintaining Mt. Charleston trails!

Nine volunteers from the Las Vegas chapter of Team Red, White & Blue joined us to maintain the Bonanza trail in Mt. Charleston. Team Red, White, and Blue is a national organization dedicated to enrich the lives of veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity...and they certainly put in the physical effort! We had a fun day with these volunteers building waterbars, re-shaping the trail tread, and talking about the recreational opportunities found in the Mt. Charleston wilderness. 

This project was part of a larger effort from southern Nevada volunteers spent this summer in the Spring Mountains to help maintain and restore trails. Volunteers have put in a lot of hours and sweat to give back to the popular trails throughout the range including the South Loop Trail, McFarland Canyon, and the Bonanza Trail. Due to the efforts of these amazing volunteers, the South Loop Trail - a extremely popular trail that unfortunately had to close after the Carpenter 1 fire in 2013 - is due to reopen next weekend on National Public Lands Day! 

Making Big Strides for the Black Rock Desert

StevensCamp_HRCBoundaryMark_BednarskiR_8231.jpg Volunteer, Keith Chan, installing a wilderness
boundary marker in the Black Rock.

Volunteers have been busy this summer making great strides to take care of northern Nevada's beloved Black Rock Desert. In partnership with the Bureau of Land Management Winnemucca and Surprise Valley districts, volunteers completed maintenance projects on the public-use Stevens Camp cabin and protected the sensitive dunes surrounding Trego Hot Springs that provide critical habitat for the kit fox. They've also installed new boundary signs to mark sections of three wilderness areas in the National Conservation Area: High Rock Canyon, Calico Mountains, and the Black Rock Range Wilderness, as well as removed old barbed wire fence in the Little High Rock Canyon Wilderness.

Restoration work isn't over yet in the Black Rock Desert NCA and we're inviting you to the first annual Desert Dace Days during National Public Lands Day weekend! We'll be completing maintenance projects on the popular Soldier Meadows public-use cabin, as well as expanding desert dace habitat. This will be a big weekend in partnership with several conservation organizations and state and federal land management agencies. For more information and to let us know you can make it, click here!

Northern and Southern Volunteers Team Up for Sage-Grouse


This month, both our Southern and Northern Nevada stewardship teams met in central Nevada in beautiful Table Mountain Wilderness to help out the Greater Sage-Grouse. It was a great weekend spent in camaraderie for the betterment of public lands and Nevada's wildlife. Volunteers worked alongside each other to prevent pinyon pine and juniper encroachment on traditional Greater Sage-Grouse habitat. A big thank you to all of our stellar volunteers who came out for the project and our agency partner, the U.S. Forest Service!

Upcoming Events


Sept. 23-25: National Public Lands Day Join the nation in celebrating and giving back to our nation's public lands on National Public Lands Day! We're partnering with the BLM, Nevada Outdoor School, Friends of Black Rock-High Rock, Nevada Department of Wildlife, and the Fish and Wildlife Service for a great weekend in wild Nevada. We'll do some maintenance on the public-use Soldier Meadows cabin, as well as expand desert dace habitat in the Soldier Meadows Area of Environmental Concern as part of the first annual Desert Dace Days! There will also be a Dutch oven cook-off and potluck on Saturday night. For more information and to RSVP, click here.

Sept. 30-Oct. 2: Stewardship Program's 10th Birthday Bash! Join us for a stellar weekend of fall colors, stewardship, cake, and adventure. We'll be  heading out to Arc Dome Wilderness to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our stewardship program and to work with the Forest Service Austin-Tonopah Ranger District to remove an old unnecessary barbed wire fence. If you haven't removed fence yet, let this be your first time for some very rewarding conservation work. Backcountry Hawaiian luau to follow! For more info and to RSVP, click here.

Oct. 14-16: Halloway Fire Restoration Help restore wildlife habitat that was burned in the 2012 Halloway wildfire in Disaster Peak Wilderness Study Area, near the Oregon border. We'll be planting bitterbrush and elderberry seedlings on a cool fall day, hopefully against a backdrop of bright autumn colors. As always, a delicious Dutch oven meal will be provided on Saturday evening. For more information and to RSVP, click here.

Oct. 21: Desatoya Seedling Planting We're heading back out to the Desatoya Mountains Wilderness Study Area to continue restoration efforts! Partnering with the Bureau of Land Management, we'll be planting native seedlings in burned wildlife habitat from the Cold Springs Fire. If you haven't yet been on a seedling planting, you'll find it is one of the most rewarding opportunities to give back to your public lands. For more info and to RSVP, click here.


Oct 6: Wild Speaker Series As we face an immediate threat to lose the majority of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge (read more info here), the October Wild Speaker Series event is certainly not one to miss. Christy Smith, the Project Leader for the Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex, will be joining us to present on the amazing wildlife Refuge system that lies just outside the city lights of Las Vegas. Learn more about the Desert National Wildlife Refuge and the current decision making process underway that could affect its future at the Wild Speaker Series and then attend the public scoping meeting on October 20th (info below). For more information on the Wild Speaker Series and to RSVP, click here.

Oct. 20: Desert National Wildlife Refuge Public Meeting Attend this important public scoping meeting to keep the Desert National Wildlife Refuge in public hands! The Air Force has recently proposed a withdrawal of 300,000 acres of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge - a proposal that would result in the immediate closure of public access, prevent any future wilderness designation of this truly wild place, and pose a terrible threat to wildlife including the desert bighorn sheep which currently thrives in this area. The Air Force will be taking public comment at the meeting. It is imperative we have a big turn-out at this meeting and make our voice heard that we want the Desert National Wildlife Refuge to remain in public hands! For more information and to let us know you can attend, click here.

Oct. 21: Boathouse Cove Naturalization Join Friends of Nevada Wilderness as we re-naturalize an illegal motorized incursion in Pinto Valley Wilderness as part of MGM Resort's Impact Week. We'll travel to Boathouse Cove Rd, on the north shore of Lake Mead and spend 3 hours restoring the routes using vertical mulching techniques. Use your muscles to improve habitat for rare species such as the Las Vegas bearpoppy and desert tortoise! For more information and to RSVP, click here.

Save the Date: November 18 - The Wild & Scenic Film Festival!
Save the date for our fourth annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival at the Clark County Theater in Las Vegas on Friday November 18th.  As always, we'll have an exciting raffle, inspiring films, and a community reception! Tickets will be $10 pre-sale, $15 at the door, and $5 for children under 12 years old. We hope to see you there!

For a complete list of upcoming events, click here.

Become a Member Today

"Philanthropy is the rent we pay for the joy and privilege we have for our space on this earth" - Jerold Panas

Become a member of Friends of Nevada Wilderness and support clean air and water, wildlife habitat, and opportunities for people to get out and enjoy the wonders of nature. Your generous donation will go towards getting volunteers on the ground in wilderness areas, advocating for keeping public lands in public hands, and providing critical protection for Nevada's wilderness areas. Membership levels begin at $25 per year.

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