April 7, 2023 - Friends of Nevada Wilderness is grateful to Senator Jacky Rosen and her staff for today’s release of a working draft of the Truckee Meadows Public Lands Management Act (TMPLMA), a proposal that contains significant new conservation measures for popular recreation areas, ancient cultural sites and wild lands in Washoe County.
A so-called public lands bill had been in the works for many years in Washoe County, going through several starts, stops and iterations. Senator Rosen and her staff eventually assumed responsibility for moving the proposal forward, assisted by Friends staff who provided detailed area mapping and conducted on-the-ground analysis of concerns expressed by a variety of interests.
Friends Executive Director Shaaron Netherton expressed relief and appreciation that all of the hard work is beginning to pay off. “We are so grateful to Senator Rosen and her staff for the many hours they have invested in developing this proposal. They made sure to consult with Tribal leaders and a broad base of other stakeholders to craft a balanced Truckee Meadows Public Lands bill that will provide significant and much needed conservation of public lands within Washoe County.”
The proposal calls for more than 223,000 acres of new Wilderness Area and nearly 540,000 acres of new BLM National Conservation Areas. Nearly 177,000 acres of popular recreation areas would be withdrawn from mining, leasing and other appropriations. With the addition of a new Cultural Heritage Area and a new Special Management Area, the amount of land that would receive some level of conservation protection would total nearly a million acres (977,491 acres).
The draft TMPLMA also would allow the transfer of 4,700 acres of public land to local government entities for parks, flood control and other public uses, the release of nearly 23,000 acres to regional Indigenous communities, and identifies over 14,000 acres for future disposal and potential development. Senator Rosen’s office will seek public comment on the proposal through June 6.
“We strongly encourage our members and supporters to comment on Senator Rosen’s proposal,” Netherton continued. “It’s important for our elected leaders to hear from Nevadans who are passionate about their access to public lands, and about protecting our dark skies and critical habitat for native plants and wildlife.”
Friends supports the proposal because it would, among other things:
- Designate Wilderness in the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, the 1st Wilderness proposed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Nevada
- Protect some of the darkest skies in the country by protecting the Massacre Rim Dark Sky Sanctuary and the Granite-Banjo Range
- Permanently protect Hays Canyon with its high cultural, wildlife and recreational values
Find more details and maps of the proposal at https://www.landsbill.org/.
Read Senator Rosen's press release here.
Hays Range in northern Washoe County - photo by Kirk Peterson
Wall Canyon in the proposed new Hays Canyon Range National Conservation Area
photo by Bob Wick