Victory! Nevada’s Gold Butte moves closer to wilderness protection

Gold Butte, Nevada.

A proposal to protect Nevada’s dramatic Gold Butte region was decided today (Tuesday, May 4) when Nevada’s Clark County Commission voted on a resolution to support a national conservation area and Wilderness for Gold Butte.

It is not hard to appreciate that this spectacular region characterized by dramatic sandstone formations and red rock cliffs, and thousands of Native American petroglyphs and prehistoric sites, needs to be protected.

Due to its abundance of wildlife and cultural icons, Gold Butte is a haven for nature, history and outdoor enthusiasts. However with this welcomed influx of visitors comes irresponsible off-roading recreation that causes environmental damage. Perhaps more troubling, vandalism of cultural sites have been reported, and Native American rock art and other cultural sites have been punctured with bullet holes and painted with graffiti.

Now it is time for the Nevada congressional delegation to act, and consider legislation as early as this year to permanently protect Gold Butte as Wilderness.

Wilderness designation would help protect the region’s spectacular cultural resources, such as prehistoric rock shelters and roasting pits dating back over 4,000 years and to 400 B.C., respectively.

Encompassing the Great Basin, Mojave, Sonoran, and Colorado Plateau desert life zones, Gold Butte is home to a variety of desert animals, such as the Desert Tortoise, Desert Bighorn Sheep, Golden Eagles, and plants such as the only pocket of Arizona cypress in Nevada.

For years, The Wilderness Society and local partners, such as Friends of Gold Butte, have been advocating for the area’s Wilderness designation.

This past weekend hundreds of local supporters made phone calls and delivered letters to the Commission telling them to support and pass the resolution. Many attended the hearing in Las Vegas urging the County Commissioners to pass a resolution to protect the magnificent natural, cultural, and geological resources found in and around Gold Butte so that everyone may enjoy them for generations to come.

The communities surrounding Gold Butte appreciate all that the area has to offer, so it is no wonder that Clark County Commission voted in favor of Wilderness protection.

To see what you can do to ensure that the U.S. Congress permanently protect Gold Butte as wilderness, please visit: www.friendsofgoldbutte.org.

photo: Gold Butte, Nevada.

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