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NV Veterans Explore Gold Butte for Earth Day

PHOTO: Veterans say their service to the country doesn't end with their military tours. Many are committed to helping protect public lands. CREDIT: Vet Voice Foundation.
PHOTO: Veterans say their service to the country doesn't end with their military tours. Many are committed to helping protect public lands. CREDIT: Vet Voice Foundation.
April 22, 2013

LAS VEGAS - Nevada joins the nation in celebrating Earth Day this week, and some local veterans got a jump on that celebration this weekend, exploring the great outdoors in Gold Butte. Rocky Mountain West coordinator for the Vet Voice Foundation, Garrett Reppenhagen, hosted fellow Nevada veterans for this weekend's exploration of bat caves and hiking trails in the Gold Butte area.

"Veterans seem to appreciate the freedom and the relaxation of the outdoors," he said, "and there's no better way, to me, to help with my post-traumatic stress disorder than getting outside."

Reppenhagen served as a sniper in Iraq in the U.S. Army First Infantry Division. Some 350,000 acres in Gold Butte are being considered for National Conservation Area protection.

Rappenhagen hopes the veterans who accompanied him will see the value of protecting Nevada's portion of the Grand Canyon. He said many of his fellow vets enjoy hunting and hiking, and he called Nevada's wild places ideal for those activities.

"It's important for us just to get more veterans out there to see what it is, and hopefully they are encouraged to protect it. So, it'll be educational - but mostly, we're just going to go out and enjoy the outdoors," he said.

Rappenhagen said veteran's service to their country does not end just because their military service does - and for Earth Day 2013, he's hoping to enlist more Nevada vets to fight for increased support and protection for public lands.

More information is available at www.vetvoicefoundation.org.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV