Pine Forest Range (Nevada).
Credit: Brian Beffort.
This is encouraging news, especially given that the bill, the Northern Nevada Land Conservation and Economic Development Act (H.R. 5205), advanced in the midst of Wilderness Week, a national event sponsored by The Wilderness Society and partner groups to bring Americans to D.C. to advocate for wilderness protections.
This legislation combines two bills that would establish the Pine Forest Range and Wovoka Wilderness Areas, which are supported by The Wilderness Society. The Pine Forest Range Wilderness Area would protect 26,000 acres in Humboldt County, combining the Blue Lakes and Alder Creek Wilderness Study Areas. The Wovoka Wilderness would comprise some 48,000 acres of central Nevada’s Pine Grove Hills between the Sweetwater Mountains and Wassuk Range, containing critical wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation resources.
Despite representing a big step forward for wilderness, the bill also contains provisions that threaten to undermine the integrity of wilderness areas moving forward. While some of those issues have been addressed in previous versions, others remain.
“We are pleased that the House took up this bipartisan bill that will protect spectacular Nevada lands,” said Paul Spitler, The Wilderness Society’s director of wilderness campaigns. “We will urge the Senate to remove language that undermines the Wilderness Act before sending this bill to the president.”
Pine Forest Range (Nevada). Credit: Brian Beffort.
The Wilderness Society will work to ensure that this bill lives up to the 50-year-old legacy of the Wilderness Act and maintains the integrity of the 110-million-acre-strong system it created.