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Groups: Introduce a New Neighbor to the Nevada Wild in '08

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December 31, 2007

Las Vegas, NV – The nation lost plenty of its wide open spaces this year, and defenders of wild areas could have their work cut out for them again in 2008. A new report (from the U.S. Forest Service) estimates that the United States loses four acres of open space per minute.

With that in mind, Bill Huggins with Friends of Nevada's Wilderness says one of the best resolutions you can make to protect the wild in 2008 is to take a new neighbor out to experience Nevada's wilderness firsthand.

"People are generally blown away, especially people from the East who've never really experienced the West. You just can't let all of that get developed. They might ask, 'Why should we protect the Grand Canyon? You know, why not put houses right on the rim of the Grand Canyon?' But these areas are worth protecting."

Nevada clearly qualifies as a battleground state in the fight for open space, and Huggins gives kudos to the state's congressional delegation for fighting the good fight.

"It's almost schizophrenic in some ways, because we've got one of the most rapidly expanding urban areas in the country, if not the world. The state also has protected more wild area than any other state over the last eight years, beginning in '99 with the Black Rock/High Rock Bill."

He says beyond a community's desire to preserve open space, the effort requires continued political willpower.

"It's huge, because if you don't have that, you're not going to have anything as far as protection."

The Campaign for America's Wilderness predicts the coming year will bring an increase in public awareness, as well as a flurry of legislation. In Congress, an estimated 1.8 million acres are already under consideration for new federal wilderness protection.

Michael Clifford/John Robinson, Public News Service - NV