Spring 2004 Nevada Wilderness Project Newsletter


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Spring 2004 Nevada Wilderness Project Newsletter

  1. 1. Viva Las Wilderness A Newsletter of the Nevada Wilderness Project www.wildnevada.org Issue Number 4. April 2004. Our mission is to protect Nevada’s remaining Wilderness as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System, and to create and sustain an enduring grassroots commitment to Nevada Wilderness. Board of Directors: Stefan Bergill Kim Jardine Kristie Connolly Brett Riddle Chris Todd Morlee Griswold Tori King Staff: John Wallin Director THIS ISSUE Directors Corner Pershing Counties "Lava Beds" Ignored by BLM Eastern Nevada Wilderness Update Awaiting Lincoln County Public Lands Legislation Scientists Ask Congressional Delegation to Minimize Open Vehicle Routes in Lincoln County Wilderness Volunteer Spotlight: Nancy Hall A Mesquite, Nevada local, Nancy Hall fights for protection of her Mormon Mountains backyard Wilderness Nevada Wilderness in the Media "Congress Should Use Hall Way", Las Vegas Sun (3/20/04) "Lava Beds rest quietly", Reno-Gazette Journal (4/8/04) Fundraising Update Project Board member, Kim Jardine, spreads the word in Southern California Erik Holland Art Benefit Show, May 12 in Reno The D.C. Connection Cherrystems in Wilderness - What Are They? April-May Calendar of Events Earth Day festivities, Fabulous Wilderness Volunteer happy hours, Erik Holland Art Benefit Show Take Action: Cherrystems in Wilderness Write a letter to help minimize the number of open vehicle routes in Lincoln County Wilderness Nevada Congressional Delegation Contact Info Mailing address, phone number, email address, and website info for Nevada's Congressional delegation Page 1
  2. 2. Viva Las Wilderness Anna Ball Development Director Erika Pollard Conservation Director Kevin Mack  Washington D.C. Rep. Contact us at: 8550 White Fir Street Reno, NV  89523 Tel:  775.746.7850 Web: www.wildnevada.org Spring wildflowers in bloom on the southwestern bajada of the Mormon Mountains Proposed Wilderness (photo by Nancy Hall) Director's Corner: Pershing Counties "Lava Beds" Ignored by BLM Our mapping and inventory work drives our Wilderness campaigns to protect Nevada's wild heritage. Often, we find our information (gathered with maps, cameras, GPS units, and a whole lot of hiking, biking and driving) is more accurate and up to date than is the information of the managing agency. Our fieldwork indicates, and further research with the BLM bears this out, that many areas in Nevada were eliminated from Wilderness consideration for dubious reasons. One of the truly amazing wilderness-quality areas overlooked by the BLM is an area called Lava Beds, just south of the Black Rock Desert in Pershing County (about 3 hours northeast of Reno). On the approach to the Lava Beds, shark-like fins of granite poke into the sky, a visual landscape of breathtaking beauty. In and among these fins of granite there are abundant opportunities for wild recreation: chukar and wild horses, stunning geologic formations, and in the lower slopes, antelope. When we looked into this area, we were surprised to find out that the BLM didn't consider this area suitable to be a Wilderness Study Area (WSA). We were really surprised to find that one of the main reasons the area was dropped from wilderness consideration was the "lack of opportunity for solitude." Apparently, the BLM, way back in the 1970's and 1980, felt there were millions of acres that, like Lava Beds, "lacked solitude." Recently, the Reno Gazette Journal ran a story on Lava Beds that highlights the area's wilderness qualities and the BLM's lack of protection for the area. Click here to read the article: http://www.rgj.com/news/stories/html/2004/04/07/67965.php The Lava Beds area is one of the classic examples of an area deserving of wilderness protection, but ignored by the BLM. If you are interested in learning more about Lava Beds, or want to do a trip to the Lava Beds, contact me at john.wallin@wildnevada.org, or Sierra Club trip leader Kurt Kuznicki at kbkuzhm@sbcglobal.net. John Wallin, Director Eastern Nevada Wilderness Update Nevada’s Congressional delegation continues to craft Volunteer Spotlight: Page 2
  3. 3. Viva Las Wilderness legislation for a Lincoln County public lands bill. At this point, the legislation will not likely be introduced to Congress until May. With help from our volunteers and supporters, the Nevada Wilderness Project and our Coalition partners have delivered our priorities for the Wilderness component of the legislation with hopes to see as much Wilderness included as possible. For those of you who did not see our “Take Action” section in the February 2004 issue of “Viva Las Wilderness”, click here for details on our Wilderness priorities for Lincoln County. In addition to protecting the southwestern bajada of the Mormon Mountains Proposed Wilderness and the Pahranagat Range portion of the Desert Hills – Pahranagat Proposed Wilderness, the Nevada Wilderness Coalition is also concerned about the number of cherrystems or open vehicle routes, which may be included in some of the Wilderness designated in the Lincoln County legislation. Although the Nevada Wilderness Coalition is not completely opposed to allowing for cherrystems as access points to Wilderness, we are concerned that having too many within one Wilderness will lead to negative impacts on the ecosystem and abundant archeological sites. By continuing to let the Congressional delegation know there is strong support for minimizing the number of open vehicle routes within Wilderness, we hope to ensure that the Wilderness component of the Lincoln County legislation is as strong as possible once it's introduced to Congress. See the current “Take Action” section below for details on the cherrystem issue and how you can help. Volunteer Spotlight: Mesquite ’s Nancy Hall - The Best Friend the Mormon Mountains Ever Had Like the rest of Nevada , Mesquite , a small town two hours northeast of Las Vegas , grew fast in the 90’s. That growth brought a boom to Mesquite and the surrounding area, with resorts, golf courses, and rapid population growth. Lucky for Nevadans who care about wilderness, the boom also brought Nancy Hall. Nancy, who in her spare time away from the desert works as a waitress in one of the local resorts, has spent the last 8 years exploring every nook and cranny of wilderness in areas like Gold Butte and the Mormon Mountains. She hadn’t volunteered with wilderness groups before, but after seeing her beloved Mormon Mountains trashed by rampant off road vehicle use, she decided to get involved. “I’m too old to hike in the mountains,” she jokes. “We need to make sure that we protect some of the low stuff so folks like me can take our grandchildren out there.” (For a recent article in the Las Vegas Sun highlighting Nancy's role in working to protect the Mormon Mountains, click here.) With the help of her partner Marvin (who does the driving but is not in the driver’s seat, according to Nancy!) Nancy has taken on the role of super- volunteer: when she’s not working on Wilderness inventories, leading hikes, or taking pictures, she volunteers in the BLM’s archeological site steward program trying to prevent lasting Bloomin' Pineapple Cactus on the Mormon Mountain bajada Photo by Nancy Hall Scientists Support Minimizing Open Vehicle Page 3
  4. 4. Viva Las Wilderness program, trying to prevent lasting damage to some of southern Nevada ’s finest archeological sites. While we honor and appreciate all of Nancy ’s hard work, both in the field and in the office, no mention of her work on behalf of Nevada ’s wild heritage is complete without divulging another key role she relishes: chuck wagon for the trail. Folks at the Nevada Wilderness Project who’ve gone out to the wilderness with her have learned to stay close to Nancy and her Jansport backpack for the bounty of candy, nuts, and ham sandwiches to be had. And if you’re one of the lucky volunteers she takes out to her favorite places, once back at the car she’ll offer you a trade: a cold beer for a letter supporting Wilderness! Routes in Lincoln County Wilderness A group of 20 Nevada biologists and archeologists recently sent a letter to Nevada's Congressional delegation asking them to minimize the number of "cherrystems" or open vehicle routes within any Wilderness designated in an upcoming Lincoln County public lands bill. The group stresses the need to take an ecosystem based approach to Wilderness designation and cites the negative impacts on biodiversity from roads and associated motorized vehicle use. The studies of Conservation Biology and Landscape Ecology have shown that the proliferation of roads and associated human activities can negatively impact wildlife species by fragmenting habitat, creating barriers to wildlife dispersal, causing direct mortality of many species, and modifying animal behavior. The proliferation of roads can also cause local species extinctions, the spread of exotic species, damage to stream channels and riparian areas and overall ecosystem degradation. The group also notes that irresponsible off-road vehicle use, a likely result of having an excessive number of open vehicle routes within a Wilderness, has already been the cause of destruction and vandalism of important cultural sites found throughout Lincoln County. Click here to read the letter. Nevada Wilderness in the Media Check out the following links to recent articles on Nevada's Wild Places and the people who care about them: http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/read/2004/mar/29/516603672.html "Congress Should Use Hall Way" by Las Vegas Sun Columnist, Susan Snyder. This is an article on Nancy Hall's efforts to protect the Mormon Mountains of southern Lincoln County as Wilderness. http://www.rgj.com/news/stories/html/2004/04/07/67965.php "Lava Beds rest quietly" by Reno-Gazette Journal outdoor writer, Mark Vanderhoff. This is an article on northern Nevada's Lava Beds, a Citizen Proposed Wilderness a couple hours drive north of Reno. Fundraising Update -- Anna Ball, Development Director Our Board and staff are out in full effect taking the message of Wilderness protection in Nevada to all kinds of venues, including weddings in southern California, if you can believe that! Congratulations to Nevada Wilderness Project members Dawna & Robert Mirante who were married on March 27th in Ventura, California. In lieu of party favors they made a donation to the Nevada Wilderness Project and invited Kim Jardine, Project Board member, to man a display at the wedding reception. Our members are critical to our success in so many ways. This type of creativity is what we at the Project love about our membership. Thanks again Dawna and Rob for allowing us to be a part of your special day and using the opportunity to support Wilderness protection in Nevada! Page 4
  5. 5. Viva Las Wilderness Project Board member, Kim Jardine, with the Nevada Wilderness Project display at Dawna and Rob Mirante's Ventura, CA wedding. If you are interested in hosting a fundraising house party for the Nevada Wilderness Project, please let us know! It's easy, it's fun and it's a great way to learn about and support Nevada's Wilderness. Contact us at info@wildnevada.org or give us a call at 775.746.7850. YOU'RE INVITED: ERIK HOLLAND BENEFIT ART SHOW, MAY 12TH Page 5
  6. 6. Viva Las Wilderness Wild Nevada Sky, by Erik Holland From Tahoe to Tonopah: Travels Throughout the Stunning State of Nevada. Join Reno artist Erik Holland for a benefit art show for the Nevada Wilderness Project on Wednesday, May 12th from 6:00pm to 9:30pm at the Patagonia Service Center. Erik Holland fell in love with Nevada during a stint reporting for the Battle Mountain Bugle in 1985. Although the job was short-lived, it was during this time that he experienced the smell of sagebrush after a summer shower, the sunset glow of the desert mountains, the startled glance of an antelope during a hike. Sadly, this desert paradise is imperiled. Through his art, Holland supports the work of the Nevada Wilderness Project to preserve it. Join us for appetizers and drinks! Patagonia Service Center 8550 White Fir St. Reno, NV 89523 (775) 746-7850 Page 6
  7. 7. Viva Las Wilderness TO ORDER A "FABULOUS WILDERNESS" ORGANIC COTTON T-SHIRT AND DONATE TO THE NEVADA WILDERNESS PROJECT,  CLICK HERE! The D.C. Connection Kevin Mack, Washington D.C. Rep Cherrystems in Wilderness So the question you are probably asking yourself is “What is a cherrystem and what is it doing in our Wilderness?” A cherrystem is a vehicle route left open within a Wilderness for various access purposes. These vehicle routes do not entirely bisect the Wilderness but they “dead end” at some point within the Wilderness. While an ideal Wilderness would have none or a very limited number of short cherrystems, the reality is that competing interests often influence policy in ways that leave a network of vehicle routes open within Wilderness. Some land users, for instance, often want multiple cherrystems into Wilderness because of the notion that their vehicle needs as much access as they do. While cherrystems can provide legitimate access to all Wilderness users, there is a need to look at each cherrystem and determine what impact it will have on the Wilderness resource and its ecological viability. The Nevada Wilderness Project's mapping & field inventory work is one solution to this problem. While fieldwork alone only gives a snapshot in time of use on a particular vehicle route, it is an incredibly useful tool that does show the impact the route is having on soils, vegetation, and other ecological factors. When reviewing fieldwork photos and notes to determine if a route within a proposed Wilderness should be left open, several factors other than the photos and commentary of a particular fieldworker are taken into account. These factors include land management agency comments as well as the collective, on-the-ground experience of members of the Nevada Wilderness Coalition. All of this information allows us to frame the conversation about a particular vehicle route and whether or not it should be included as a cherrystem. Page 7
  8. 8. Viva Las Wilderness While the Nevada Wilderness Project and our Coalition partners are not opposed to cherrystems where the facts on the ground indicate its need, many groups opposed to Wilderness often use the cherrystem as a way to weaken on-the-ground protections afforded by Wilderness designation. In many cases, the issue of cherrystems is often one of the last issues to be dealt with when designating a Wilderness. The challenge we face then, is to make certain that regardless of the size of the Wilderness, proposed cherrystems do not take away from the value of Wilderness as a wild place. A Wilderness is no Wilderness if it is marred by multiple vehicle routes. However, there is no easy answer to cherrystems. While our Wilderness proposals seek to limit the numbers, length and impact of cherrystems, we compete with interests that seek to add additional, longer routes into proposed Wilderness. The best way for all of us to keep our wild places as wild as possible is to get involved. Get out on the ground, adopt a wild place as your own and become familiar with the landscape. By doing so, we can all work together to keep the pesky cherrystems to a minimum. April -May 2004 Calendar of Events: EARTH DAY EVENTS - Reno The Nevada Wilderness Project will have informational tables at the following Earth Day events. If you are around, come out to say hello, sign a letter supporting Wilderness and partake in the festivities celebrating the environment! Saturday, April 24 - Heavenly Village in South Lake Tahoe from 11am- 5pm. This all volunteer, non-profit, community event is being organized to recognize, celebrate and promote the Lake Tahoe region's unique beauty and to raise awareness of the fragility of its ecosystem. Educational focus areas include watershed health, pollution prevention, alternative energy, waste management, and more. The event will include live music on solar powered stage, kid's activities, booths and displays, and a giant Earth Day raffle. For more information, go to http://www.trpa.org/documents/earthday_2004.pdf. Sunday, April 25 - Reno's Idlewild Park from 10am-5pm The theme for Earth Day 2004 comes from a quote by Mahatma Gandhi, who stated, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world." The event will include live music on a solar powered stage, live entertainment on an acoustic stage, children's area activities, booths and displays, a river clean up and more. For additional information go to http://www.environleader.org/earthday.html#general. WILDERNESS VOLUNTEER HAPPY HOURS - Reno Please join the Nevada Wilderness Project and the Nevada Wilderness Coalition for TWO Fabulous Wilderness happy hour/volunteer nights each month in Reno! The second Tuesday of every month we'll be gathering at the Record Street Cafe (351 E. 9th St at the corner of E. 9th and Record Street just south of UNR) and the last Tuesday of every month we'll be at the Great Basin Brewery in Sparks. Come enjoy a coffee, beer, glass of wine or soft drink and some food and hear about the latest happenings with Wilderness in Eastern Nevada, learn about how you can help and meet new folks interested in protecting our wild places. Come on out and join us for a good wilderness lovin' crowd and conversation! UPCOMING HAPPY HOUR DATES: April 27 from 5:30 to 8:30p.m. at the Great Basin Brewery in Sparks. May 11 from 5:30 to 8:30p.m. at The Record Street Cafe in Reno Page 8
  9. 9. Viva Las Wilderness May 25 from 5:30 to 8:30p.m. at the Great Basin Brewery in Sparks. For directions to the Great Basin Brewery, check out the brewery website at www.greatbasinbrewingco.com . For directions to The Record Street Cafe, click here for a Mapquest Map. MAY 12, ERIK HOLLAND ART BENEFIT SHOW - Reno From Tahoe to Tonopah: Travels Throughout the Stunning State of Nevada. Join Reno artist Erik Holland for a benefit art show for the Nevada Wilderness Project on Wednesday, May 12th from 6:00pm to 9:30pm at the Patagonia Service Center in Reno. TAKE ACTION: Cherrystems in Lincoln County Wilderness As Nevada's Congressional delegation continues to craft a Lincoln County public lands bill, we urge you all to remind them of your support for Wilderness by writing a letter. Along with the need to protect all of the Wilderness quality lands in Eastern Nevada, there is also a need to make sure that the Wilderness includes a minimum number of "cherrystems" or open vehicle routes. Although the Nevada Wilderness Project and our Coalition partners do not completely oppose cherrystems (we actually include some in our Citizens' Wilderness Proposal for Lincoln and White Pine Counties), we are concerned about negative impacts on the ecosystem and archeological sites from excessive open vehicle routes and subsequent irresponsible off-road vehicle use. We need your help voicing this concern to the Congressional delegation. Please take a few minutes to write a handwritten letter to Senator Reid, Senator Ensign and Congressman Gibbons asking them to minimized the number of "cherrystems" or open vehicle routes in Lincoln County Wilderness. Scroll down for talking points on cherrystems to include in a letter or phone call. Please let us know when you do send a letter to the delegation by shooting an email to erika.pollard@wildnevada.org. Your voices are critical to this process and we appreciate your efforts to help us make this legislation a positive step forward for Wilderness protection in Nevada! Thank you, thank you! Talking Points for Cherrystem Letters During the last 20 years, ecological values have begun to supersede scenery and recreation as the fundamental goals for Wilderness Area selection. Protecting an area for its ecological value, rather than its scenic or recreational opportunities, requires looking at a completely different set of characteristics and examining how an area fits into the context of the larger natural landscape. Both agencies and individuals have proposed many Wilderness Areas that have long, narrow exclusions for roads up canyon bottoms or along ridges. These “cherrystems” severely compromise the protection of an area and impair its ecological viability. While many Wilderness supporters understand that “cherrystemming” in proposed wilderness areas is occasionally necessary, we seek to minimize cherrystems because of their negative ecological impact and the management problems that they create. Frequently, cherrystems end at springs or traverse sensitive riparian areas (often with repeated crossings). Care should be taken to lessen vehicle and human impacts on plants and wildlife in these riparian and spring zones. Roads and associated off-road vehicle use negatively impact biodiversity by fragmenting wildlife habitat, allowing for exotic species invasion, damaging native plant species, causing soil erosion, and altering stream channels and riparian areas. Irresponsible off-road vehicle use, a likely result of excessive cherrystems in Wilderness, has already resulted in damage to important archeological sites in Lincoln County. These cultural sites have important spiritual significance and provide critical links to our cultural and environmental history. By minimizing the number of open vehicle routes within Lincoln County Wilderness, we are more Page 9
  10. 10. Viva Las Wilderness likely to protect important desert bighorn sheep habitat as well as low elevation habitat for the threatened desert tortoise. CONTACT INFO FOR NEVADA'S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION Senator Harry Reid CLICK HERE FOR EMAIL LINK Carson City 600 East Williams Street, #302 Carson City, NV 89701 Phone: 775-882-7343 Fax: 775-883-1980 Las Vegas Lloyd D. George Building 333 Las Vegas Boulevard South, # 8016 Las Vegas, NV 89101 Phone: 702-388-5020 Fax: 702-388-5030 Reno 400 So. Virginia Street, # 902 Reno, NV 89501 Phone: 775-686-5750 Fax: 775-686-5757 Rural Nevada Mobile Office Phone: 775-772-3905 Fax: 775-201-6010 Washington 528 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Phone: 202-224-3542 Fax: 202-224-7327 Senator John Ensign CLICK HERE FOR EMAIL LINK Carson City 600 East William St., # 304 Carson City, Nevada 89701 Phone: (775) 885-9111 Fax: (775) 883-5590 Las Vegas 333 Las Vegas Blvd. South, # 8203 Las Vegas, Nevada 89101 Phone: (702) 388-6605 Fax: (702) 388-6501 Representative Jim Gibbons CLICK HERE FOR EMAIL LINK Las Vegas 600 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Suite 680 Las Vegas, Nevada 89101 Phone: 702-255-1651 Fax: 702-255-1927 Reno 400 South Virginia Street, # 502 Reno, Nevada 89501 Phone: 775-686-5760 Fax: 775-686-5711 Elko 491 4th Street Elko, Nevada 89801 Phone: (775) 777-7920 Fax: (775) 777-7922 Washington D.C. 100 Cannon House Office Building Washington D.C. 20515 Phone: 202-225-6155 Fax: 202-225-5679 Representative Shelley Berkeley CLICK HERE FOR EMAIL LINK Las Vegas 2340 Paseo Del Prado, Suite D-106 Las Vegas, NV 89102 Phone: (702) 220-9823 Fax: (702) 220-9841 Washington DC 439 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 Phone: (202) 225-5965 Fax: (202) 225-3119 Representative Jon Porter CLICK HERE FOR EMAIL LINK Page 10
  11. 11. Viva Las Wilderness Reno 400 So. Virginia St. #738 Reno, Nevada 89501 Phone: (775) 686-5770 Fax: (775) 686-5729 Washington 364 Russell Senate Building Washington, D.C. 20510 Phone: (202) 224-6244 Fax: (202) 228-2193 TDD: (202) 224-7638 Henderson 2501 N. Green Valley Pkway, #112D Henderson, NV 89014 Phone: 702-387-4941 Fax: 702-434-1378 Washington 218 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 Phone: 202-225-3252 Fax: 202-225-2185 If you are interested in visiting any of our Eastern Nevada Wilderness Proposal Areas, give a call (775.746.7850) or send us an email (info@wildnevada.org). If we can't join you, we can always guide you toward some fabulous Wilderness locations! Help Protect Wilderness while giving and drinking organic coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 15% of all sales from orders placed via this link to Nevada Wilderness Project. Grounds for Change is a family owned and operated coffee roasting company offering certified fair trade, organic and shade grown coffee from communities throughout Latin America and the Pacific. They offer great gift packages including coffee, organic chocolate, handicrafts from around the world, and more. Click here or on the Grounds for Change logo to begin. GIFT MEMBERSHIPS TO THE NEVADA WILDERNESS PROJECT Give a gift membership to the Nevada Wilderness Project and give a family member or friend the opportunity to help protect more of Nevada's incredible wild places.  Members of the Project receive invitations to special events, newsletters to keep updated on the latest happenings, and the opportunity to directly impact the protection status of OUR public lands. Click here or on the Nevada Wilderness Project logo to make an online gift donation. Page 11