|Wilderness and Habitat Conservation|
The Nevada Wilderness Project has a proud history of working with our conservation partners during the last 11 years to protect more than 3 million acres in Nevada as Wilderness and National Conservation Area.
This takes patience, diligence and creativity—and most of all, the experience and leadership to work with members of Congress to introduce bills that protect these amazing landscapes.
Here’s what’s cooking now:
Gold Butte is about 70 miles northeast of Las Vegas. It is a land of bighorn sheep, Joshua trees, towering ponderosa pines and ancient rock art. It is a haven for wildlife, hikers and hunters – and a big piece of the recreational industry that’s good for our economy.
The Nevada Wilderness Project and a coalition of other conservation groups have been campaigning for Gold Butte for 10 years, and we’re just getting warmed up. We kicked off 2011 with a trip to Washington D.C. to remind our Congressional representatives that protecting Gold Butte as a National Conservation Area with Wilderness is a high priority.
Since spring 2010, Gregg Tanner, NWP’s staff biologist, has been participating in a working group headed by Jim Jeffress of Trout Unlimited to consider whether or not the Pine Forest and Alder Creek Wilderness Study Areas, both in the Pine Forest Range in northwestern Humboldt County, NV should be designated Wilderness. The working group consists of a wide range of local stakeholders, and their grassroots efforts are paying off.
The working group members reached a consensus and agreed to make a formal recommendation to the Humboldt County Commission to support Wilderness designation by Congress with a number of specific recommendations and conditions. The Commission voted 5-0 on October 21, 2010 to support a recommendation that Congress designate over 27,000 acres of wilderness in the Pine Forest Range. In the first half of 2011, Gregg and other members of the working group will be involved with crafting the language for the bill to be introduced to Congress. We’ll keep you posted about their progress.
In late December 2010, Inerior Secretary Ken Salazar issued a secretarial order referred to as the Wild Lands Policy that makes it a “high priority” for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to identify and protect “lands with wilderness characteristics” and to consider that distinction when deciding what can be done with those areas. This policy has come under atttack from some members of Congress, and the Nevada Wilderness Project and many other conservation organizations around the country are building and demonstrating grassroots support for this sensible and pragmatic policy.