Thursday, July 28, 2011

Building a Base

What a long strange trip it’s been, traveling the politically rutted road of public lands policy surrounding Gold Butte. However, along the way I have seen some great sights and have learned a few good lessons.

It was little more than a year ago, that I was meeting with our congressional delegation on a regular basis. It was in those meetings that I was told point blank that the Gold Butte NCA and Wilderness proposal was a done deal. It was only in May of 2010 that the Clark County Commission passed their naïve and disingenuous resolution, reworked at the eleventh hour, in support of this same plan. We met with candidates running for office at every level of government, we met with Washington bureaucrats, lobbyists, local mayors, county commissioners and all manner of elected officials. Through it all, in spite of the odds, we were able to hold out through the election cycle of 2010 and the resulting lame duck session and fight off yet another inept and heavy-handed proposal.
Why was it that these politically privileged plans never made it out of the dark recesses of the chambers of those political elite? It was because of you. It was because when phone calls needed to be made, when letters needed to be written and a show of hands at a meeting was needed, you were ready to rise up.  I have seen what a coalition of communities coming together, fighting for something they believe in, can accomplish politically. It is bigger, better and stronger than any halfhearted special interest group could hope to buy or manufacture. 

It is my goal with this blog to provide a place where like-minded people can find information on current events and have a place where ideas can be shared that help promote local stewardship for our public lands. I would hope that the efforts of this blog have helped build the base of community support for issues surrounding public lands at Gold Butte. However, I need your help, in building an even larger community base to support Gold Butte. I need help in sharing our message to the community that cares about Gold Butte. The time will come again that we will need to fend off yet another special interest proposal that is trying to cash in on hundreds of thousands of acres to add to their trophy chest.  We need to stand ready as a community to yet again block the next unreasonable proposal.

I am not asking for money, I won’t spam you with emails or Facebook posts, I am not even asking you to come to any meetings, but I do need your help. 

Please share the link to the Save Gold Butte Facebook page to your Facebook friends and invite them to “Like” this page. Share the link to Save Gold Butte to your blogger friends and suggest they follow the blog with their blogger account. Help me build the base of community support for Gold Butte and keep our public lands accessible for everyone to enjoy.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Local Wilderness Discussions

The scoping meetings for the Lime Canyon and Jumbo Springs wilderness areas were held a few weeks ago. I was able to attend the meeting held in Overton. The meeting was not very well attended however the discussion that we had was constructive, and I believe, informative for both sides (the community and the BLM). The discussion focused on how to manage wilderness areas both in a broad sense and also specific components that would impact the wilderness within the Gold Butte region.

The wilderness that is found within Gold Butte is for the most part undeveloped and primitive. I know this seems common sense or logical even so, it was on these simple facts that I built the basis of my suggestion for future management for these areas. We don’t need big gouty signage cluttering the landscape pointing out the way. We don’t need interpretive signage for the visitor to be told what he or she is seeing. We don’t need fences telling us which side of the road or canyon is wilderness and which isn’t. We don’t need a big red delineation on the map calling visitors attention to these places.  If we have to have wilderness, if it has to be drawn on a map so we “know” what it is, then we ought to let it be what we want it to be, wilderness.

Different sub topics like managing weeds, habitat, water sources and fire control were also discussed within the meeting.  However, most of those conversations came back to the overarching theme of managing the entire region or landscape instead of a small subset within that region. The community members who were in attendance seemed to agree that trying to manage a 4,000 acre swath of country within a 350,000 acre complex was of little worth at best and a poor utilization of government  resources when talking about weed control or habitat conservation. The whole complex needs to be managed as a single unit. To try and manage a 4,000 acre piece while leaving the remainder vulnerable because it doesn’t have a bureaucratic title is ridiculous.

This is only a brief overview of what was discussed at the Overton scoping meeting. There were two other meetings held both in Bunkerville and Mesquite. I was a little disappointed at the attendance of the Overton meeting. These meetings are both a great opportunity for the community to get to know our BLM staff and also for the community to express their thoughts and feelings about local land management. It is these meetings were we can hold our BLM staff accountable for local land management practices. If we don’t take the time to tell them how we would like to see it managed by the time you grab your pitchfork and light your torch it is probably too late to do any good.

The Moapa Valley Progress covered this meeting along with the other community meetings. Please take the time read their article and get a more well-rounded assessment of the community meetings: