Gold Butte's national monument designation under review

LAS VEGAS - Nearly a million acres of land in Nevada could lose their national monument designation. Gold Butte, as well as Basin 'N' Range, are two monuments the department of the interior is currently reviewing.

However, on Friday, many fought to protect the land.  Others voiced how they would like to the designations made smaller.

A lot of passionate people are embattled in this fight to keep the two national monuments in Nevada intact.  About 2.7 million public comments were submitted to the Department of the Interior.

Ninety-eight percent are in favor of keeping the designation for the land according to advocates.  On, Friday, they brought their message to Las Vegas ahead of an expected trip to Nevada from the feds.

Gold Butte National Monument is the place where frequent visitor Jim Boone gets away from it all to enjoy the outdoors.

"I just like going out and being alone with a big wide open landscape and looking for tortoises and big horn sheep," Boone said.

But, Gold Butte, is now under review by the feds to possibly do away with its designation or reduce it in size. 

Many "Friends of Gold Butte," such as Boone joined the fight to keep the land protected.  They met at the Springs Preserve on Friday.

"Leave these national monuments alone," said Jesse Prentice-Dunn, Advocacy Director for the Center for Western Priorities."
"These public lands are under attack. The trump administration review is really a precursor to eliminating or shrinking some of these monuments. It's something we find unacceptable."

Friday's event was part of a six state tour. The group uses an RV to travel around parts of the country. They want to make sure that their voice is heard to save national monuments." 

In Nevada, members of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe say they're disappointed in the fact that they have to fight once again.

"When we got this monument designated in December I was overjoyed and very happy," said Fawn Douglas, activist and artist member of Paiute Tribe. "I felt people were finally listening to the indigenous voices. People are finally respecting Native American people and how we feel about our lands."

On the other side of the issue, the all Republican Congressional Western Caucus submitted its own recommendations, proposing a drastic reduction to Gold Butte, which is currently about 300,000 acres.
   
Members of the caucus call the designations a land grab, but Congressman Ruben Kihuen disagrees.

"This is not about taking our lands back," said Rep. Kihuen.  "The lands are already the people's lands. We just have to make sure that we protect them."

As the fight continues, Boone says he will push to keep the land protected.

"I hope it remains a national monument," said Boone.

There's no word on when Secretary Ryan Zinke will visit Nevada, but he's expected to make his recommendations to President Donald Trump by the end of August regarding Gold Butte, as well as Basin and Range.
 


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