Sunday, August 8, 2010

Citizen Involvement and Better Management

The Moapa Valley Progress article that was run July 21 titled, “Candidate Heck Visits Gold Butte” talked about the PLCC trip out to Gold Butte with candidate Heck. PLCC used this time to share some of the fundamental yet often misunderstood issues facing Gold Butte. This article spurred subsequent letters to the editor that were printed in the following weeks. Whether some of the readers misunderstood or deliberately misconstrued some of the statements in the original article is not my place to judge, however the discussions that were fostered by the article in my opinion were constructive. Any discussion that brings attention and raises community awareness to current events and issues is a good thing.
I particularly enjoyed Elise McAllister’s letter to the editor and found it filled with useful and encouraging information.

“Designating the area as an NCA and wilderness will not deter idiots who do that as it is already illegal. A perfect analogy is robbery. It is already illegal, but still, it is committed every day. Adding another layer and calling it more illegal' is not going to stop those people.

Education, better management, involving citizens will all help. And there is proof of that at prehistoric sites where an active stewardship program is already in place. George Phillips, Cultural Site Stewardship Program Director states that there has been a 26% decrease in site impacts this year. "Most of this decrease is in OHV damages due to a Roads Designation Plan initiated by the BLM in the North and Eastern parts of the County."

Sounds like citizen involvement and better management (the Roads EA) have resulted in a 26% decrease in just one year. WOW, the current system is working!”

The above facts pointed out by Elise are both positive and encouraging when talking about managing public lands for multiple-use at a local level. It should also be pointed out that the decrease in damage is occurring while usage in increasing.

This is how a common sense solution for the good of Gold Butte will come about; Factual information with positive people willing to work to build a sustainable future for our public lands. I am in no way advocating for a status quo approach to Gold Butte. No one wants to see destruction of our cultural sites or ecological damage to the place that we care so deeply for. What we are advocating for is a long term sustainable solution for Gold Butte that is built from the ground up on a framework of factual information for the good of public lands and the ability to enjoy them. Running to Washington with the quick fix attitude is neither a sustainable or responsible solution for the good of our public lands or the community who enjoys them.