Monday is the last day to comment on Gold Butte, other national monuments

LAS VEGAS - Two national monuments in Nevada are at risk of losing their designation.

The battle is brewing on whether or not to keep the areas protected, and about a million acres of land are at stake in Nevada.

Now, time is running out for the public to voice their opinion about the issue.

Gold Butte, as well as the Basin and Range, are under review by the Department of the Interior.

Many who've fought for years to keep the land preserved are gearing up for another battle.

"I treasure national monuments. I have visited many of them over the course of my life," said Rita Rensom, national monument advocate.

More than two dozen national monuments around the country are under review after an executive order was signed earlier this year citing lack of public outreach when they were designated.

"If it went away it would be like saying that this land is not valuable to conserve and it certainly is," said Jaina Moan, Exec. Dir. Friends of Gold Butte. 

Moan says the designation is crucial in protecting the land.

"Prior to the designation our organization had been assessing the damage done to the landscape, and so we've documented instances of vandalism to historic sites," Moan said. 

The federal government is currently asking for public opinion. The deadline to submit a comment it Monday.

"If this means something to you please comment," Moan said. 

For the Moapa Paiute Tribe, they've felt left out of the process. The land used to belong to them.

"We don't want to see a reduction in size we don't want to see any issues of Mesquite area regarding their water rights," said Darren Daboda, Moapa Paiute Tribe Chairman.

The Mesquite City Council supports the review citing water rights issues, but Friends of Gold Butte adds there's already protection.

"It is actually written into the proclamation that the water district will have access to their water rights," Moan said. 

Some will keep fighting to keep the land a national monument.

"There will be such overwhelming support to preserve these special places that no changes will be allowed. That's what I’m hoping for," Rensom said.

You can leave a comment click here. To learn more about Friends of Gold Butte click here.

After reviewing public comment, a decision is expected by late August.
 


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