Gold Butte Advocates Clinch Victory With Monument Designation
President Barack Obama designated some 300,000 acres of pristine Nevada desert northeast of Las Vegas a national monument Wednesday.
The move has been years and years in the making.
But it doesn’t come without controversy. Off-roaders and ranchers don’t like the federal Bureau of Land Management controlling the land. Those pushing for its protection say it's a historic piece of land full of ancient petroglyphs that need protection.
The presidential proclamation designating the land takes great poetic license in describing the area's cultural, historical and social significance.
"The Gold Butte landscape is a mosaic of braided and shallow washes that flow into the Virgin River to the north and directly into Lake Mead on the south and west," it reads. "Several natural springs provide important water sources for the plants and animals living here. The arid eastern Mojave Desert landscape that dominates the area is characterized by the creosote bush and white bursage vegetative community that covers large, open expanses scattered with low shrubs."
The proclamation also talks of how the area has provided food and shelter for people "for at least 12,000 years."
"Remnants of massive agave roasting pits, charred remains of goosefoot and pinyon pine nuts, bone fragments, and projectile points used to hunt big horn sheep and smaller game serve as evidence of the remarkable abilities of indigenous communities to eke out sustenance from this unforgiving landscape," it also says.
Congresswoman Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, hailed the designation. She added that for president-elect Donald Trump to overturn the designation, Congress would have to change the Antiquities Act signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. She didn't think that was likely to happen.
Congresswoman Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas
Christian Gerlach, Sierra Club
Fawn Douglas, Paiute Tribe of Las Vegas