Protecting Nevada’s Gold Butte Will Protect Our Economy and Our Heritage

Gold Butte Wilderness Petroglyph Photo: Cheryl Hobbs cc 2.0

Gold Butte Wilderness Petroglyph Photo: Cheryl Hobbs cc 2.0

On February 23, 2016 HECHO’s Nevada Advisory Board Members, Senator Mo Denis and Clark County Recreation Center Supervisor Al Martinez, sent a letter to President Obama urging the protection of Gold Butte, Nevada’s piece of the Grand Canyon.  Below is a copy of that letter:  

From the Grand Canyon to the Red Rock Conservation Area, Nevada is a state of incredible natural diversity known around the world as an exceptional outdoor recreation destination. And the landscape of our state provides a lot more than just recreation and relaxation: it’s also a vital part of the economy, our culture, and our history. As Nevadans, we understand the need to protect the region’s recreational, cultural, historical and natural resources. That is why we support protecting Gold Butte, Nevada’s piece of the Grand Canyon.

Cultural, historical, and natural wonders abound in Gold Butte’s 350,000 acres. These include thousands of petroglyphs; historic mining- and pioneer-era artifacts; rare and threatened wildlife such as the Mojave Desert tortoise and desert big horn sheep; dramatic geologic features like sculpted red sandstone and rock spires; and fossil track-sites dating back 170 to 180 million years ago.

In the 1700s the Spanish created arrastras for mining – large, hollowed out flat rocks over which a donkey would drag another rock to crush ore. There are four known arrastras in the Gold Butte townsite area.  Protecting Gold Butte will mean also protecting an important piece of our Hispanic heritage.

Finally, it is commonly known that tourism from the Las Vegas Strip is the lifeblood of Nevada, but recreational tourism also plays a significant role in our state’s economy. In 2012, outdoor recreation was responsible for 148,000 jobs, $4.8 billion in wages and salaries, and $1 billion in state and local tax revenue. We can continue to improve these statistics by supporting permanent protection for Gold Butte.

We strongly urge you to take action to permanently protect Gold Butte now, by either encouraging Congress to pass Senator Reid and Congresswoman Titus’s current legislation (S.199 and H.R. 856) or by utilizing the Antiquities Act by the end of your term. It is vitally important that we safeguard Gold Butte’s economic, cultural, historical and environmental benefits for future generations.