Sunday, November 15, 2015

Martian Mesa

I have a fairly lengthy commute to and from work. It was one of the only drawbacks to when I accepted the job. However since I have started that commute I have discovered some most excellent podcasts which now fill every minute of that commute and sometime even more. Most of my stations focus around coding, space, statistics (within the realm of data science), robotics and almost anything science related. With this bit of background my projects list might makes a little more sense.

Mars or Mesa

While cruising into work one morning a TED talk came up on my playlist with a guy named David Lang. David taught himself how to build a robot and start collecting oceanographic data. How he got started out was a lot like how I am trying to get going, he needed to collect data, didn’t have the money to buy the robot or equipment needed to do it, so he built it. He later went on to create openrov where he sells the kits he came up with for super cheap (comparatively). He got talking about collecting data remotely and using robots to do it and it totally inspired me to get back to my robot projects.  That was on the way in to work so I spend a good deal of time pondering what the next step was for my weather station and data collection units and how to make it mobile. Then on the way home I listened to one of my Space focused podcasts. 

With the recent release of the movie the Martian, which I loved, a lot of my space focused stations spent a few episodes discussing Mars exploration. One in particular had a panel of folks who represented specific areas within science who were interested in space exploration. There was a great discussion on whether we should focus on sending astronauts and scientists to Mars or if we should just keep sending robots. There was a geologist who said something a robot would take weeks to analyze, or possibly could never do, he could do if he were physically in the space in a couple minutes. The roboticist of course was like no way, I could get it done and then the astronaut was like hell no send me up and then the guy from NASA who obviously represented the budget was like well this is all going to cost  a lot of money. It was a great discussion and it inspired me to want to get into the space race and robotics. Then these two podcasts came together in my mind and my imagination almost exploded.

After these two came together I instantly wanted to build a robot that could roam around and start collecting data. This thought occurred to me right as I was cruising the North Shore Road coming around Lake Mead and I saw the Mormon Mesa and figured that it would be a perfect testing grounds. The Mesa Rover was born.

As I started to research the Mars rovers and look at pictures they had taken I was impressed with how similar Mars and the Mormon Mesa looked. The boys and I convened a conference in the shed and it was decided to begin work immediately.

So far we have built many protypes but feel like we have found a good design for the tracked robot. We have a pretty good center of gravity so that if it goes back onto the real part of the tracks or above 38 degrees pitch then if you put it in reverse it will go back onto the main part of the tracks.

We have also tested out the battery life and it will go .8 miles in 56 minutes on 8 recharable 1.2 volt 1300 MAH AA batteries. There is still a lot of testing to do with adding on the solar panels and recharging the batteries but it’s good to have a base line to run off of.

We also have the sensor pretty well dialed in that gives pitch, roll and heading. Today we calibrated the sensor to maintain a heading between 264 and 276 degrees which is a nearly easterly direction which is heading for the road that runs by our house. It took us a little bit to find the right course correction algorithm so as to not spend too much time bouncing back and forth between those headings.

Our next step will be to add in the sonar for object \ cliff detection. I will keep update as we make progress on our Mesa Martian Rover.

Hubble Telescope and Gold Butte
The next project has been in the works for a long time but I finally was able to bring it together after listening to one of my python coding podcasts a couple weeks ago.

Ever since I did the fire analysis project in 2014 I have wanted to study the effects of wild fires in the desert. I wanted to better understand how the desert responds after a fire but also possibly identify areas that haven’t yet burned but are most prone to so I could focus research there so if a fire did happen I would have a good base line to run on pre-fire. One of the pieces of analysis I would like to be able to do is to quantify vegetation cover or counts of plants per sq meter in a particular area. To do this I would need to be able to perform somewhat complex remote sensing type analysis. There is software out there that can do such analysis but I don’t have it nor the experience to run it, so I figured writing my own software would be a more attainable approach for me.

While driving into work a couple weeks ago I listened to a podcast called “Talk Python To Me” the host interviewed a scientist who was using part of the Science Kit modules called SKImage. The scientist was using the software to write algorithms to count cells in an image from a microscope but in a high level overview it’s the same concept as I wanted to do with aerial photographs of the desert. After listening to this it sounded like this would be a possibility for me to start work on my image analysis tool.

While researching the skimage module I found an algorithm that a team had written to analyze images from the Hubble Telescope. While looking at the images from the Hubble I thought that they didn’t look too different from a desert landscape found in Gold Butte or Mormon Mesa. I was able to take that program that they wrote and modify it to analyze aerial photographs of our beautiful desert. I am still trying to hammer out the best variables for the formulas but I have a pretty strong start.

So how does this all relate to gold Butte you may be wondering? Well the mesa is not that far from my house so it makes it an easy test ground to run my experiment and it is also adjacent to Gold Butte so once I get the rover running on the Mesa I can then send it out into the wilds of Gold Butte to start collecting data. What kind of data am I going to collect? All kinds of good stuff. Really anything you can think of there are sensors to detect and measure.  I will start with weather data and then add in elevation, slope, available light, wind and all kinds of other factors so I can start building a model to more accurately forecast and predict weather patterns on a microclimate level. I would like one day to be able to integrate the camera as well as an infrared camera to start being able to detect vegetation and write a detection and classification program to start classifying and quantifying vegetation and start building GIS data. I also have ideas for a habitat mapper\monitor\data gathers but I am already getting way ahead of myself.  I also would like to have the bot be able to explore and map abandoned mines. I have directional sensors, sonar, gas detection and other air quality sensors for this project.  In the mean time I am still dreaming things up so I will post my ideas as I make progress.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Lessons Learned and Up Next - DRASTIC

Well I finished up my last weather project. You can see the results here . For that project I created two weather stations and compared the temperature on the Virgin Mountain at 7,100 ft. and in Logandale at my house at 1,400 ft on the same line of latitude. The results of the project were that I found the temperature difference was 24.6 degrees or roughly .004297 per foot of elevation gain. It seems kind of sad to summarize the whole project up in one succinct sentence or really one number. This project was fairly involved and actually took me a couple different tries running up and down the mountain over the course of a month to collect the data. Storms, hardware failure and technical difficulties were plentiful. However there were multiple returns from the project, including tangible data as well as knowledge gained with hardware and software. These were huge wins for me that will benefit future projects by streamline the time it takes to implement those projects. The knowledge I get to carry forward really is the biggest result of this last project.

The knowledge gained from the project was not just that the temperature is 24.6 degrees cooler on the mountain than at my house but in building the systems to collect the data, the software built to analyze the data as well as a better understanding of the weather. I also had hardware outputs from the project that I can use in future projects. The building of the systems was also an endeavor in and of itself. I needed to be able to collect many data points for an extended period of time without the ability to plug it in while also being modular enough that I could pack it up in my backpack and hike it to remote locations and have it withstand the elements. The actual building of the hardware components was not a huge task because I had previous experience with micro-controllers and soldering so I was able to spin those up pretty quick. My weekly allowance for sensors held me back more than anything. The part that took me probably the most to hammer out was the power supply.

There were two parts to this, one: writing code that minimized the amount of power used by the micro-controller and sensors and two: Creating enough power to supply the station with adequate power as well as charge the batteries that would allow the station to run during the night when solar power wasn't available. This wouldn't really be a huge deal except for the size of the panels and for money. As I mentioned earlier I needed the station to be as small as possible so I could pack it in my backpack as well as being inconspicuous so people would leave it alone. I am also funding all this on my own dime so I am going as cheap as possible because it cuts into my soda fund. After much testing I was able to reduce the power consumption considerably and create a power supply unit that was small and reasonably priced for a backyard hacker.

This left me with the last piece which was to weather proof the unit so it could withstand fairly intense weather. This took some effort and testing as well as a few failed attempted deployments on the mountain. However finally I was able to get the two stations to run in parallel long enough to collect data and mark the project a success.

(my bed out in Cedar Basin)

For my next project I will be adding a few new components into the monitoring system but I am also shifting the focus of the data I am going to gather. One of the best parts about getting out and about is seeing wildlife. I love when you’re cruising up the mountain and you jump a few deer up and get to watch them bound up the steep mountain slope. I love when you’re out in the hills and you catch a glimpse of a coyote sleeking across the hills and valleys. I enjoy watching the Jack Rabbit bounce between the cactus and sage or the Gamble Quail scurry across the hill side in the waning afternoon sun. The focus of my next project will be to gather data about wildlife and their habits, potential habitat areas and the interactions between the wildlife in the shared ecosystem.

One of the new pieces of hardware that I ordered last night was a camera that interfaces with the Arduino micro-controller system that I use. I also have a motion detecting sensor so I will wire these two pieces onto the system so I can take a picture when there is movement. I also have built a wind monitor so I can try to better detect if the motion is the bushed blowing in the wind or an actual animal moving within the field of view of the camera.

With these additions to the system I hope to be able to capture some good pictures of different wildlife out in the Gold Butte region. I am essentially building a trail cam but I will also have all my other sensors hooked into the system so I will be able to measure temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed, light, date and time and soil moisture. I hope with all of this data that I can start to get a better understanding of particular animal behaviors and start to find trends and habits.

The animals that I am going to focus on are Gamble Quail, Jack Rabbits, Coyotes, Mule Deer and Mountain Lion. While I am waiting for me new hardware pieces to arrive I have begun the process to define the area where I will set up my monitoring station. I started first by downloading all of the Spring GIS data for the Gold Butte region. I then went to the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) website and downloaded their Mule Deer habitat GIS data. I then overlaid the landform dataset which gives classifications of slope as well as a vegetation dataset. With data I began the process of finding the most suitable areas where wildlife would potentially be found.

After analyzing the data I have identified the area to where I think I will have the best probability to capture data on the animals I outlined previously. After I get all of my hardware assembled and tested I will deploy my new station near Gold Butte headquarters.

There are many different types of analysis that I will be able to perform with the data that I hope to collect. One dataset that I will hope to be able to extrapolate will be species population counts. If I monitor different springs and get good counts of Quail that come and go throughout the morning and evening hours and these counts are roughly the same I will be able to estimate how many birds reside within a given area. I will also have to take into account the terrain and vegetation but I have this data and will be able to create a fairly sophisticated model to estimate this data. If I can get counts of deer and know their normal patters for watering and know their preference for feeding based on available forage I can start to understand where they will most likely to be found and when and under what weather conditions. If I can predict where quail and Jack Rabbits will be then I can start to paint a better picture of where and how many coyotes reside within a certain region. I also hope to be able to capture pictures of a mountain lion out in the Gold Butte region. I have never seen one personally but know people who have and I would like to see if I can get a picture of one and hopefully multiple pictures at different springs so I can start to understand mountain lion habits as well.

This is going to be an ongoing and long term project. Just getting the new hardware pieces integrated into my existing system and tested and weather proofed is going to take some time. My current knowledge and understanding of these animals is quite simple at this time. To help me kind of get a leg up on it all and up to speed I have enlisted the help of a master woodsman and animal tracker, and longtime friend, Kyle Leavitt. He has already donated some time in getting me up to speed on how to track and monitor mountain lions and mule deer. He also has a firm grasp of how to utilize scents to attract these animals and will help me to increase the odds of getting my first data points with my monitoring system. I will post updates as I move along on this project.

This is a time lapse of the Logandale Trailhead with a picture taken every ten minutes between 9 AM - 5PM. The Camera used was an AdaFruit TTL camera that was run from my Arduino which was powered by solar. The video isn't that great but it was a big accomplishment getting the system to run so here it is.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Mountain Comparison Results

This is the second part of a post from earlier. You can read the first post here that explains the experiment in more detail:

I was finally able to have a successful run on our mountain comparison experiment...mostly.

The first run of our experiment was in August 2015. After the second day of the DRASTIC station being deployed on the mountain a pretty good storm rolled in and hammered the mountain. I posted a picture of the radar from the National Weather service on the previous post, it was pretty intense. The road up the mountain got pretty well washed out and my weather proofing on the housing for the station didn't withstand the elements. Water leaked in and fried the SD card and one of the pins on my micro controller. However it was not a total loss because all the sensors were still operational and I still had spare pins on the controller so I was able to do some rewiring on a couple of the sensors and be back up and running.

Once we got the station rebuilt and did some engineering on the housing we ran back up to the mountain to redeploy the station once again. This time I tried to engineer a better water proofing system for the micro-controller housing....a gallon sized zip-lock bag and a lot of tape. On our way to redeploy the station I set up my time lapse system that I built from another micro-controller that emits a infrared pulse that fires the shutter on my Nikon camera. I also included a couple of pictures of some wildlife we saw along the way...not a lot of things scare me but while walking down the trail (7,100 ft elev.) to set up the station a diamondback rattlesnake crossed my made me a little jumpy for the rest of the trip.  If you watch close towards the end of the time lapse part of the video when it is just about dark you can see our lights when we are coming down the mountain for part of the way.

For the most part the experiment was a success because I was able to gather data but I still had a few hiccups along the way. The first major hiccup was that the housing for the outside temperature was blown askew so my temperature readings cannot be trusted during the peak part of the days because the direct sunlight on the sensors gives increased temperature readings. The second hiccup was that halfway through the fourth day we had some pretty gusty winds and it shook my solar panel so hard that one of the wires came loose(nobody says science and engineering is easy especially for a hillbilly building this stuff in his shed in the backyard). However with a few light modifications to the original game plan I was able to still collect and analyse the data and come up with results that I have a high degree of confidence in.

The first modification that I made to the experiment was that I just used the data collected during the night and early morning hours when the sun wasn't shining directly on the station. I had a photoresister, which measures light, on the station so this was an easy modification to make within the analysis program that I wrote to comb through the data. I write all of my analysis programs in Python Scripting language. The second modification I had to make was to only analyse three days worth of data instead of 6. I ran some analysis on the data however and I felt like there was enough consistency in the data to say with high confidence that there was a clear trend in the data.

A quick recap of the experiment: we set up two identical weather stations to gather temperature data on the same line of latitude but at different elevations. One station was up on Virgin Mountain at 7,146 ft and the other was near my house at 1,401 for a difference of  5,745 ft of elevation gain and 21 miles between the two stations by way of the crow.

The finding of our experiment was that the temperature up on the mountain was consistently 24.69 degrees Fahrenheit higher than in Logandale. This difference was consistent between 12:00 AM to 8:59 AM with only a deviation of 3.108 degrees. This is about 0.004297 degrees per foot of elevation gain.

Although there were some hiccups along the way I am still going to chalk this project us as a success. Yes we had to make some modifications along the way, and we had to deploy the stations twice, but the data that we gathered was useful and we were able to pull some correlations out and find some patters in the data that help us to better understand the weather patterns within our area to a greater detail. We also learned a lot about how to better construct our stations so we can build better units for our next experiment.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Virgin Mtn Weather Station - Lines of Latitude

I have always had an interest in the weather, computer software development, the out-of-doors, maps & charts, and both tinkering and science in general. It is a mixed bag of interests no doubt. A little while back I came upon the Arduino micro-controller systems and found a way to pull all of my interests into one collective focus. This post is an introduction to my latest DRASTIC (Desert Research And Science Technology Innovative Charting) project.
Over the last year I have focused my spare time and energy on developing, testing and calibrating a weather system that tracks soil temperature at multiple depths, two outside temps, humidity, barometric pressure, elevation, soil moisture, light, date and time. A lot of my time was spent testing different power options and testing them. The result was a combination of the wiring of the hardware, optimization of the code, rechargeable batteries and two solar panels. This allows me to run my system around the clock. I haven’t tested it for multiple cloudy days to see how long it will stay powered but I know that it can run for at least 36 hours if the batteries are full. I certainly could add a larger power bank of batteries however I am trying to keep in small and I am cheap so I am trying to make it as small and inexpensive as possible. Even if it does lose power it will just wake up when it gets enough and start logging again. The flowing chart shows some of the testing of battery life with different code modifications.
(the graph above shows the effect of different modifications to the Arduino on the battery life)

When sitting on my front porch I have a direct line of sight view of the Virgin Peak. This is one of our family’s favorite places to visit, especially in the summer so we thought an experiment to understand the weather patterns on the mountain would be fun. In a relative short amount of time we can be heading up the mountain to cooler temperatures, but we wanted to know exactly what kind of temps we could find.

Last year I did a research project where I calculated the Wildfire risk potential for the Gold Butte region based on historic fires. You can read more about this project here:
As I ran through this project it became very apparent that there are many eco-regions within Gold Butte and micro climates within those areas. Looking at the map you can tell that there are different areas within the general area but I like to be able to classify these areas based on specific criteria. These areas can be generally classified by looking at the relationship between elevation, vegetation,slope, soil and geology. This project is a next step in better understanding the relationship between the different areas within Gold Butte. With this experiment I hope to be able to better classify these regions and understand how weather affects these different regions including precipitation, temperature, humidity and barometric pressure.

With this in mind we designed an experiment where we created duplicate stations to run parallel to collect data. We would then put one on the mountain and the other at the house. We wanted to be able to see if there was a direct relationship or formula we could find to calculate the temperature on the mountain based on the temperature at the house. After building and testing our stations the next step was to pick the locations for our stations. After studying the map we found that we could run both stations on the exact same line of latitude on the mountain and our place in Logandale with 21 miles in-between.

With our experiment designed and our stations built and tested we were ready to deploy them and execute our experiment. I brought along both stations on our ride so we could deploy one and then chart the trip as we went. This chart shows the elevation profile of our trip up the mountain. I had the station set to take a reading and log every 30 seconds.

We had an excellent trip up the mountain. We were a little delayed in getting going as we waited for the rain to slow down but going out in a storm always pays off in the spectacle of rain in the desert.

Post Script: After we deployed our station Virgin Mountain bas gotten hammered with rain. I guess I will find out how good my weather proofing turned out this time. The last station that I deployed was back in September up on the Mesa on September 7, 2014 and the next day the area got the hardest rain we have gotten in a long time with record flooding....and my station biffed it after some rain got in my enclosure and shorted out one of my circuits.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I love getting out in the hills. Getting out and about is one way I take a break from the routine of everyday life. There are some places that are my go to spot, I love going there and it never gets old with new sunsets and changing weather it’s always something new.  I also love exploring new places, finding traces of life where something has tried to eke out an existence from some bygone era or seeing some new geologic formation for the first time awakens my sense of adventure. I love cruising new vistas and being reminded of my place in existence and time.  

Part of going out is being prepared, and part of being prepared is studying the map. Over the last few years there has been a proliferation of mapping tools made available with high resolution imagery that is regularly updated. These new mapping tools combined with the good ol’ USGS maps or BLM\Forest Service maps allow us to know where we will be going like never before.

Sometimes however when you are wanting to go and explore a new area, it nice to know what some of the highlight spots are from other people. In my younger days I would do this by getting out my dad’s old maps and looking for the circles he and my uncle had drawn on the map of the places they had visited. Sometimes I would call my uncle and try and get directions to a place but that didn’t always work as his sense of place and mine were often drawn from different vantage points and the directions didn’t always translate.

With this little history as a backdrop I would like to introduce release 1 of my mapping site . With this first release I am introducing a mapping application that allows you to view and create your favorite spots out in the back country as well as report on the status of that site.  

When you open up the site it will initially zoom to the Whitney Pockets area in the Gold Butte region. At the top right of the map is a search tool that allows you to search all the spots that have been added to the map. This is a wildcard search so if you type petroglyph, then any spot that has petroglyph in the name will come up. After you select a name from the drop down, hit submit and the map will zoom to that particular spot.

The little orange X’s mark where there is a spot that has been added by a user.  Click the orange X to identify that spot and open the information panel. When the panel opens it will give you the name of that spot. Some spots have a link that says, “Click for more info about this spot”. This link will take you to my site where I have more detailed information about that particular spot.  Also in this panel is a checkbox that says, “This is my go to spot”.

After you check the “This is my go to spot” the panel will expand to show a form where you can submit a little bit of information about that spot. Please answer the two questions that this form asks.

If you have a favorite spot but there isn’t a X that marks the spot then you can click navigate the map to your spot and add it. To add your spot click where your spot is and a new panel will open asking for the name of the place and the type of place that it is.

I built this site with a couple goals in mind. I love studying maps so I wanted to create a site where people could access easy to use dynamic maps. Right now I just have the USGS map for the base map but in the future I will change it so you can switch between aerial imagery and hopefully historic maps and other types of base maps. I wanted a place where people could add their favorite spot and view where other people like going for new trip ideas.

I also wanted the application to be a tool that helps improve public lands management. Folks are always asking for ways that they can be involved. I want this site to be a place where after you visit a spot you can report on the condition of that place so if we need to put together a clean-up then we know where to go. As the database builds with user reports I will work with local non-profits like Partners-In-Conservation to ensure we are good local stewards of our public lands.  As reports come in I can create maps to depict where clean-ups need to take place. The map below is a heat map of the current locations that have been added to the map. It shows where people’s favorite places are to visit. This is an example of the types of maps that I can create:

In the next version I am going to start adding roads into the map so you can view different trails and report on their status. This will then help people know when they are planning their trip what the conditions of the roads are and what type of vehicle will be needed to traverse the road.

Please go check out the site and add your favorite spot and report on the conditions of places where you have visited recently. I hope that this site will be a tool that is useful and informative and that you will check back often for updates and to find new places to explore.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Mica Peak Vermiculite Mine

I ran across an old mining journal published by the Mackay School of Mines at UNR on the vermiculite mining in the Gold Butte area. While the History of Mining section was small it contained a lot of great information and also grabbed my interest as I have many fond memories of visiting the cabin growing up and exploring this area. It also mentions the owners of the mines at the time, Roxton Whitmore and Laura Gentry who were St. Thomas folks. These historic ties are what keeps the local sense of stewardship for our public lands alive in the local communities.

The best I could do to find a picture of Laura Gentry was this photo which states that she is the little girl looking through the fence. If my Whitmore friends are out there and can let me know whether this is correct or not I would appreciate it.
This is a picture of teh Harry Gentry Genral Store in St. Thomas.

The best I could do for Roxton Whitmore was this picture I have of his place in St. Thomas.

Gold Butte vermiculite deposits, Clark County, Nevada
Mackay School of Mines, University of Nevada 1967

The Gold butte vermiculite deposits are in the central portion of the South Virgin Mountains in northeastern Clark County. They lie within a one-mile-square area of the Gold Butte 15’ quadrangle, in sec. 15 T. 19 s., 70E.. The area is accessible by way of a maintained county road that connects with US Highway 91 at  Mesquite, Nev; the distance from Mesquite to the deposits is 52 miles.

Intermittent attempts have been made to exploit the vermiculite deposits, but no record of production is available. The first carload of unprocessed vermiculite was shipped to Los Angeles in 1942, and at least several car loads were shipped out later for experimental purposes. A mill was completed in 1945 with a reported daily capacity of 25 tons. The material was mined by open put methods. It is said that no more than 5 tons production per day was obtained, and the operation soon ceased. Failure to clean and size the material properly, lack of capital investment, and extreme difficulties of transportation are probably the chief reasons for the limed production.

In 1962 two cabins and the remains of the wind-damaged mill are the only structures on the property. A mine pit, almost 300 feet long, and waste dumps are present near the mill. Elsewhere, shallow exploration test pits and trenches dot the area. In a well near the mill, the water level has been within 20 feet of the surface in summer. The mining claims are held by Laura Gentry and Roxton Whitmore of Overton, Nev.

If you look to the far left you can see the roof of the old cabin. Next time I go out I will try and get an updated picture from the same vantage point however for now this is the same angle looking from Google Earth.

 This is my dad Jack Nelson out at the cabins at the Mica Peak mine before the BLM torn them down. This picture was taken in about 2001.

There is still a little machinery scattered out in the hills from the old mill.

This map was included in the journal.

Monday, February 16, 2015

In Motion

While I lay under the stars last night enjoying the beautiful back country of Gold Butte,  I couldn't help but feel a peace that can only come while sitting among the hills and sage. It was a beautiful night. There wasn't a hint of a breeze, nor a trace of a cloud and the moon was hours from peaking over the Grand Wash Cliffs so the stars were dense and brilliant. Laying in my bed roll next to my boys in the back of my truck, it would have been hard to feel any more still, however the shutter on my camera tells a different story. It reminded me that things are always in motion.

With the shutter wide open for much of the night my camera captured the motion of the night sky with the star trails glittering by. It is the same with the political landscape of Gold Butte as well. Last week on February 10, 2015 Dina Titus introduced legislation to designate Gold Butte as an NCA. Albeit that is is not the first, second or third time this bill has been introduced it still muddies the waters and undercuts anything positive that could be done for public lands in Southern Nevada.

These bills are not what they seem. It is easy to read into the rhetoric and get caught up in the feel good hook that these wilderness bills convey. The hidden barb that sinks in after these bills get passed are the stories, the history and the landscape that gets swept clean to create a landscape to fit this agenda. These bills are unable to encompass a wide enough perspective to capture a complete picture of our public lands and the stories they hold. Instead they focus on one point in time and disregard any evidence that detracts from this one vantage. It is my history, one of cattle ranching, mining and pioneering that often gets swept aside.

As I travel the back roads of Gold Butte the history emanates from the hills and springs, corrals and mines. There is a story of many people who have passed through this country. It is not a simple landscape that can fit within a narrow agenda nor be captured by a philosophy watered down by money and ego. I will continue to work for protection with access for our public lands and work to conserve every aspect of history that has played out on our public lands.

H.R. 856: To establish the Gold Butte National Conservation Area in Clark County, Nevada, in order to conserve, protect, and enhance the cultural, archaeological, natural, wilderness, scientific, geological, historical, biological, wildlife, educational, and scenic resources of the area, to designate wilderness areas, and for other purposes.

Feb 10, 2015