|Southern Nevada Wilderness Celebration|
|Friday, 09 November 2007 00:36|
November 6th marked the fifth anniversary of the 2002 wilderness protections in Clark County. In order to observe this special day, the Nevada Wilderness Coalition organized an event in Las Vegas to celebrate the people and places involved five years ago and currently.
The event was a success! Over 70 people turned out to mingle with new and veteran wilderness advocates, hear great speakers, and enjoy the free food, drink, and raffle. People entering the room were greeted by staff of the coalition, a beautiful slideshow rolling of proposed and designated wilderness areas, bluegrass tunes, visuals of old articles blown up in size hanging from the walls, and tasty treats.
Bill Huggins kicked off the speaking portion of the event. Bill has worked diligently on protecting wilderness for many years volunteering with numerous conservation groups while paying the bills by bartending, not to mention he is completing his Masters degree in English. Pauline Orendain, mother of a five-year old son, shared her story from the campaign trail. Heather Fisher, owner of Escape Adventures, explained why she supports wilderness even though she can not ride her mountain bike into it. Recently returning from volunteering with Red Cross to assist with the relief effort in S. California, Bill James talked about his desire and action to see areas like Sloan Canyon preserved in its natural state. UNLV student, Katie Kleinick shared her involvement as a high school student and continued advocacy. Nancy Hall, delivered a heartfelt speech of going from “just a waitress” to be someone who played a major role in getting wilderness designated and now the president of Friends of Gold Butte. Finally Calvin Meyers of the Moapa band of Paiutes expressed that wilderness is essential to the survival of his people. Southern Nevada’s Wilderness is very fortunate to have such passionate people working to keep it preserved for the future and the main reason we were able to have this celebration.
David Bert, host of KNPR’s Along the Way delivered the keynote speech. David is the unofficial spokesman for the outdoor community in Las Vegas and speaks and dresses the part, strolling up to the podium in his hiking boots. Even though David claims he is more suited in front of a radio microphone than a large crowd, he captivated the audience with his zeal for nature.
Special areas protected like the Muddy Mountains were celebrated Tuesday night, but everyone recognized that we aren’t finished. The 2002 legislation was a good first step; however a number of special areas were not protected such as the breathtaking Gold Butte region and the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, the largest wildlife refuge outside of Alaska. Motivated by the buzz in the air, many folks wrote letters to the Nevada Delegation to step it up once again for Southern Nevada’s Wilderness.
A big Wild Thank You! goes out to everyone that attended, spoke, and helped organize the event.
There was some media coverage around the fifth anniversary.….
published letter to the editor Letter: More wilderness protection needed
Note that this week marks the fifth anniversary of the Clark County Conservation of Public Land and Natural Resources Act of 2002. During the past few years I have been able to enjoy several hikes in the Black Canyon Wilderness area, which was created by that act, and can see the wisdom of giving such a landscape the protection of Wilderness designation.
While thanking Sens. John Ensign and Harry Reid for their leadership in creating and passing the act, I also entreat them to work toward the inclusion of the Gold Butte area into Southern Nevada Wilderness areas. This beautiful area to the east of Lake Mead's Overton Arm has the limited protection of distance from large population centers but needs the wise management that comes with wilderness designation to protect its scenic areas, wildlife, archaeological treasures and fragile desert ecosystem. The sooner such areas get protection, the less damage and loss there will be from irresponsible use and vandalism.
William Belknap, Boulder City