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NV Tribe Offers to Help Keep Public Lands from Getting Out of Hand

June 1, 2007

Reno, NV - There are so many different ways to enjoy Nevada's vast public lands that some forms of recreation end up clashing with others. Now a Nevada Native American tribe is offering to help referee. The most recent example of wild lands getting too wild came when a Silver Springs man drove into Hungry Valley with a backhoe and decided to carve out his own dirt track. Members of the Reno Sparks Indian Colony spotted the illegal activity and Chairman Arlen Melendez says his tribal police force could do more to help.

“We're not saying that we're against off-road vehicles or anything like that. We're just asking how can we designate certain areas within the valley so that we're not stepping on each other, and so that we don't have some kind of clash between recreational users themselves.”

The Reno Sparks Indian Colony is offering help to both Washoe County and the Bureau of Land Management. Melendez notes that those agencies are so short-staffed that agents often end up monitoring millions of acres. He adds that public lands need better protection than the Bureau of Land Management can afford to give.

“As far as one officer trying to monitor millions of acres of land, it’s been a problem not only at our location, but throughout the state where 90 percent of Nevada is federal land. That's part of the reason the tribe wants to manage the valley in some manner.”

Melendez believes his tribal force has the eyes and ears of the community to help protect the land.

“It's just that we're in the vicinity and can respond better if anybody is dumping trash, or shooting illegally, or desecrating the land.”

Michael Clifford/Eric Mack, Public News Service - NV