As Nevadans, our public lands have always been a source of pride. From the expansive high deserts and snow-covered peaks in the north to the ruby sandstone cliffs and breathtaking gorges in the south, the natural beauty of Nevada’s public lands has very little comparison in our country – and even the world. The Silver State’s beautiful and diverse lands have inspired generations of Nevadans and are an essential part of our Western identity. Our public lands are not owned by any single person. They belong to all of us, for everyone to enjoy.
Nevada’s public lands provide our natural, cultural, and historical heritage, and are integral to the state’s tourism-led economy. Visitors are drawn to the casinos in Reno and Las Vegas as much as they are drawn to the natural beauty of our lands. Nevada’s outdoor recreation economy is critical to the state’s economic growth, giving a much-needed boost to our rural communities. The outdoor recreation economy generates 148,000 jobs and $14.9 billion. Since tourism is the most potent economic sector in our state, we will not put our lands and livelihoods at risk.
There are some in Washington, DC, who do not understand our way of life. Attempts to reevaluate protections for our public lands put them at risk of irreparable damage. We have to ensure that places like Gold Butte and Basin and Range are saved for our children and grandchildren.
Protecting our public lands should not be a partisan issue. Nevadans from all backgrounds enjoy them for hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, backpacking, and, most importantly, for their livelihoods. Washington, under pressure from private interests, is actively threatening the long-term preservation of our lands at great cost to hardworking Nevadans. We must continue to fight for the protection of our public lands. If we fail to do so, we run the risk of losing these revered places forever. +