Success across the spectrum
Under Executive Director, Jeneane Harter, who was hired in September 2011, NWP continues to be a strong advocate for wilderness designations. We've worked hard on a bill to protect the Pine Forest area, and we've worked for wilderness lands in Burbank Canyons in Douglas County and Gold Butte in Southern Nevada, where wilderness lands are incorporated with a larger National Conservation Area proposal.
But wilderness designations are just one tool in our "toolbox approach" to permanent land protections in Nevada. We also work on other designations, including conservation easements for ranchlands that are critical to the protection of sage-grouse in Nevada.
In 2009, NWP adopted a new mission that allows us to focus our expertise and vast membership base on other challenges facing Nevada's public lands. For instance, we now have a Renewable Energy Program Director who reviews renewable energy projects proposed for public lands and works to ensure those projects don't compromise wildlife habitat and wildlands.
We also work on promoting protections for sage-grouse, which are on a list of “candidate species” that warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. We work not only to protect senstive sage-grouse breeding and nesting areas but we also work to protect and rehabilitate the sagebrush steppe the bird relies on for survival.
The Nevada Wilderness Project was founded in May 1999 by former Patagonia employee John Wallin, who had previously completed a Patagonia-sponsored internship focused on inventorying potential wilderness areas in Nevada.
Early on, the Nevada Wilderness Project was involved in organizing grassroots support for federal legislation to designate land in Nevada as Wilderness. Approximately every two years, we saw success.
Since 1999, 2,530,188 acres have been designated Wilderness (that’s 3,953 square miles - or equal to two Delawares), with another 500,000 acres of National Conservation Areas. This includes: