Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thinking Locally

Today my family and I spent the entire day out at Gold Butte. We rode the trails, visited some of the old mines, took pictures of the wild flowers and visited some of the places where our forefathers pioneered. 


We unloaded near Azure Ridge and headed for Horse Springs. We hiked, explored, and had a delicious picnic. Sitting under the willow tree near the spring, watching my kids splash in the water and run up and down the alleyway of the old corral, my mind wandered to the politics surrounding this incredibly beautiful desert country. I was reminded instantly of the reason that I have devoted almost every spare second of my life getting involved in the politics of Gold Butte; My kids, my family and our right to enjoy public lands. 

Right now there are a lot of groups and politicians who are pushing really hard to designate Gold Butte as an NCA with massive amounts of Wilderness (over 130,000 acres). They use scare tactics to get people to the table and then tell us, you can either ride this train with us or jump off. 


Why is Washington DC dictating to us the future of public lands and bypassing our local BLM office? When did we allow special interest groups to take over the political arena and push the citizens out the door? I am in no way advocating that we create a Gold Butte Militia however I do believe that we need to get involved with our local representatives and resolve these issues with the local office of the agency who manages this area.

November brings the next election and with that many of our public servants are up for reelection. If there is ever a time to let them know where we stand it is now.

In my opinion we need to redirect the train that is headed for an NCA designation. However we need to maintain that momentum to keep people involved but direct that energy to our local BLM office. We need to work with them to build a common sense solution. There is no eminent threat to Gold Butte! It is already designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). There can be no land transferred for disposable land top sell for development as many groups use as a scare tactic. Many trails have already been closed by the BLM that they think are imposing harm on the landscape. There are Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA) funds available for the agency to use if there are critical threats to multispecies habitat. If you believe that there is not enough management at Gold Butte then tell the local BLM office that it needs to dedicated more resources to it. The people who tell us something has to be done now and try and hurry it through have their own ulterior motives and not the best interest of Gold Butte at heart. 

There are no doubt differences of opinion on what needs to be done at Gold Butte and these differences need to be resolved. However the right solution is not going to come down from a politician in DC. The right solution needs to be developed locally. One of the tools that accomplish this goal is the Resource Management Plan with the BLM at the local level.

We need to use the correct channels and processes that have been put in place for this exact reason, to develop a management plan that best suites the needs of our public lands and the people who enjoy their benefits.