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05/14/2010

Creating a National Conservation Area in Gold Butte, Nevada

For several years, the Toiyabe Chapter and the Southern Nevada Group of the Sierra Club have worked to protect the Gold Butte area.  Gold Butte is located on the border between Nevada and Arizona and is home to multiple mountain ranges, unique sandstone formations, and significant collections of prehistoric rock art along with other historic and cultural resources.  The area represents an important wildlands linkage between the protected areas in Clark County, Nevada, and the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument on the Arizona side of the border.

In 2008, Rep. Shelly Berkley (D-NV) introduced legislation to create a National Conservation Area, with wilderness, in Gold Butte.  Later that year, Dina Titus was elected to the 3rd District of Nevada, home to Gold Butte.  Since then, the Southern Nevada Group leaders have worked closely with Rep. Titus and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) to permanently protect the area from rampant off-road vehicle abuse.

In addition, the Southern Nevada Group has also worked to push a proposal to protect significant Tule Springs fossil beds located just north of Las Vegas, and slated to be turned into another sprawling McMansion development.

These efforts came to a key decision point recently, when the Clark County Commission scheduled a vote on a resolution of support for the Gold Butte National Conservation Area proposal.  Working with our partners, the Sierra Club generated important grasstops contacts to all the County Commissioners, sent out multiple electronic alerts, and collected more than 500 signatures on a petition supporting the resolution.  Thanks to the hard work of our dedicated volunteers, the County Commission voted 6-1 in favor of the Gold Butte Resolution.  This support is vital, and we expect that Senator Reid will now move forward with the introduction of a new bill that will protect the natural and historic values the Gold Butte area and the Tule Springs fossil beds.

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