Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wilderness Roads Access and Responsible-Use

We have, for too long, let the special interest groups drive the political agenda concerning our public lands. We have become comfortable and taken for granted the fact that our public lands are open to the public for multiple use. It doesn’t matter if you are out sight seeing, a photographer, hunter, ATV enthusiast, fisher, camper or all of them combined, if you are an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys your public lands and enjoys the access to your public lands you need to get involved and tell your political representatives how you feel about public lands management. 

Friday a group of concerned citizens and a paid employee of the Nevada Wilderness Project had the opportunity to meet with a range of political representatives on issues concerning Gold Butte. The director of the Bureau of Land Management Robert Abbey was one of the key political representatives involved in the discussions. This meeting was largely put together so we could ask Director Abby, as the head of the agency who manages Gold Butte, question about the future management of the Gold Butte.

There was much that was discussed in our meeting however the following are some of the key points that I took away. Director Abbey made it a point to clarify, many times, the fact that the BLM has no current legislation concerning Gold Butte before congress and has no intension to introduce legislation. However Director Abbey told us point blank that the status quo for management at Gold Butte is not an option. The group talked about various other topics but the majority of the discussion focused on the designation of a National Conservation Areas (NCA) for the Gold Butte region.

At this time I will not get into the full discussion of what an NCA is or the Pros and Cons of this bureaucratic management tool for public lands. However I will point out a few of the items that we were told would be a positive thing for designating Gold Butte as an NCA. Director Abbey told us that one of the biggest things that would happen when Gold Butte gets the NCA designation is that it would get recognition on the national level. The point of funding came up a few times but this point got down played and no official numbers or statements came out about any additional funding. We were also told it will add another layer of protection or management for the area (bureaucratic red tape).Wilderness, roads, access and responsible-use were the topics of discussion.


I greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with our political representatives and have the chance to ask them questions face to face. Director Abbey told us the Bureau of Land Management is not pushing the agenda of an NCA designation for Gold Butte. The point remains however that someone is pushing this agenda and it is not the local community or the people who enjoy Gold Butte.

The special interest groups have had the stage to themselves to distort our political representative’s view of what the real issues are in our public lands and how their constituents feel about the current climate concerning these issues. For everyone who enjoys access to our public lands, get involved, tell our representatives how you feel about the closure and denied access to public lands.