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Nevada Public-Lands Fans Defend National Monuments in D.C.

Nevada's Gold Butte is one of dozens of national monuments currently under federal review. (Friends of Gold Butte)
Nevada's Gold Butte is one of dozens of national monuments currently under federal review. (Friends of Gold Butte)
June 8, 2017

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- Dozens of public lands enthusiasts from Nevada and around the country will converge on Washington, D.C. this week to defend the country's national monuments, including Nevada's Gold Butte and Basin and Range.

Thursday is the 111th anniversary of the signing of the Antiquities Act, which has been used by presidents from both parties to establish national monuments. President Donald Trump ordered a review of many of the larger and more recently designated monuments, which means they may be reduced in size to allow for future development.

David Richards, an outdoor skills instructor in southern Nevada, is a member of the delegation that will urge policymakers to keep the monuments whole.

"I think that it's important that we make an accounting of these places,” Richards said. "I'm actually happy to come and advocate, and say why those precious dollars should be spent to preserve these wonderful places."

A new study by Headwaters Economics looked at 17 national monuments in the West and found that economic indicators - from population and employment, to personal income and per-capita income - trended upwards in each community after a national monument was established.

President Barack Obama designated the Gold Butte National Monument in late December 2016, just before leaving office. Richards said he believes it's a stunning landscape that must be protected and enjoyed.

"There are beautiful, big amphitheaters of red rock that you can camp within,” he said. "And I think it should be accessible to people; and I think actually, more people should know about it, because it is a place that does inspire and can really benefit those who visit."

The public comment period on the executive order to review the national monuments is open for one more month - until July 10. Comments can be submitted at www.regulations.gov.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV