The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hosted a public meeting in Mesquite last Thursday to provide local residents with information about the newly designated Gold Butte National Monument. A contingent of Bundy sympathizers tried to drown out dialogue. BLM representatives and Mesquite residents nonetheless engaged in that dialogue on how to move forward in protecting Gold Butte.
Bundy sympathizers came ready to fight, even as their agenda continues to lose traction among Nevada voters. Colorado College released the 2017 Conservation in the West Poll late last month. In their Nevada findings, 63% believe the designation of Gold Butte National Monument was “a good thing.” 81% of Nevadans want to keep existing national monuments in place. And 70% prefer the Trump Administration maintain environmental protections and public stewardship of public lands instead of opening more public lands to mining and fossil fuel drilling. As loud as Bundy’s supporters and their political allies can be, they’ve yet to increase actual support for their agenda.
Perhaps this assisted the BLM crew in staying above the noise to answer questions from local residents. They explained how Gold Butte remains open for hiking, biking, camping, OHV riding on designated roads, and other non-destructive activities. They answered questions from Mesquite residents on how monument designation does not affect the local water supply. They also explained how new pavement might be necessary to connect existing roads.
As the Bundy contingent sought to relitigate the national monument designation, BLM representatives were inviting the public to participate in the citizens’ advisory board. Gold Butte’s designation is historic in inviting the Moapa Paiute Tribe and other locals to participate in its stewardship.
As the Bundy contingent re-litigated Gold Butte’s past, the BLM representatives and Mesquite locals were discussing the future.
How many new roads will be built? Where can all-terrain vehicles go? What’s the effect on military operations in the area? These were a few of the questions that were discussed at the meeting. While some of the attendees present did not even want discussion with the BLM, other locals found some answers on how Gold Butte National Monument fits into the landscape going forward.
(Many thanks to Rudy Moertl for attending last week’s meeting and providing photos for us to share with you here.)