In January of 2011 Senator Heller, then a congressman for Nevada’s 2nd congressional district, wrote an article for the Field and Stream magazine titled Wilderness Does Not Equal Effective Wildlife Management. This is an outstanding letter and I commend Senator Heller for laying his views out on the table. The outdoor recreation community is in need of a Senator who will support common sense management initiatives on public lands here in Nevada. I believe that this is a perfect opportunity for Senator Heller to make his stance on Gold Butte known and be our representative.
I would like to build on the concepts that Heller’s letter in Field and Stream offer and put those principles into practice right here in our own state. In his letter, Senator Heller talks about the impact that Federal land management policies have on a community. Policy that is created in Washington reduces the local community’s ability to be involved in the process. Policy should be developed and implemented on a community level not written and mandated in Washington. We need to take the Washington politics out of public lands management and allow the communities and the agencies that were established to manage our public lands do just that.
Senator Heller seems to encourage this type of management from his statement in the letter in Field and Stream, “Maintaining healthy ecosystems and wildlife populations is not a simple or easy task. This task becomes more complicated when land management decisions are taken out of the hands of state wildlife officials, local communities, and stakeholders who know the area best.”
Gold Butte doesn’t need further bureaucratic overhead from Washington. The current management tools are in place to properly manage Gold Butte right now. Local community stewardship, in partner with the local agencies, is the type of management that I would hope our representatives in Washington would promote. In a quote from Senator Heller’s letter I believe he agrees, “a transparent public process that includes input from local officials, communities, and stakeholders is a better model for governing.” We are entitled to the transparent public process that Senator Heller talked about. There should be no shortcuts and no quick wins in public lands management.
I will be calling on Senator Heller to not support any new federal designation at Gold Butte but instead support the local communities and the agencies in their continued effort to design a management plan that protects both our natural resources and our access to public lands.
Heller's letter in Field and Stream can be found here: