Fall 2006 Nevada Wilderness Project Newsletter


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Fall 2006 Nevada Wilderness Project Newsletter

  1. 1. Nevada Wilderness Project Fall 2006 Boots on the Ground As many of you now know, the White Pine and sounds of Washington, DC. Folks toured theCounty Conservation, Recreation, and Economic De- monuments at night, explored the Smithsonian Mu-velopment Act of 2006 was introduced in Senate as SB seum, traveled to the Mormon Temple in Washing-3772 in early August. The bill calls for the designation of ton and discovered the National Building Museum, aover 545,000 acres as wilderness, and we are hopeful that place none of the DC veterans had ever heard of.this can be improved through the continued efforts of ourgrassroots base. Letter writing and phone calls are impor-tant and vital to our efforts, but the month of Septemberprovided an excellent opportunity for us to step up our grassroots voice by bringing back several Nevadans to the halls of Congress so our lead- T. Garrison ers could hear firsthand from local Nevadans from across Adventures of the Timber Creekettes! the state. Over the course of two weeks NWP and our coa- lition partner, Friends of Nine women rendezvoused in Eastern Ne- Nevada Wilderness, brought vada during the first weekend of October to camp eight smiling and bubbly and explore the “gem” of our White Pine County wil- faces to Washington to derness proposal, the Schell Creek Mountains. Gals speak on behalf of wilder- traveled from all over the state: Las Vegas, Reno and M.Banta ness in Nevada. Incline Village to take in the fall colors of the large aspen groves on the west side of the Schells. Our Conservation Director Nancy Beecher madeher first trip with Karen Winnfield from Las Vegas as partof the National Wilderness Week efforts put on by our coa- Upon setting up camplition partners Campaign for America’s Wilderness and at Timber Creek the firstThe Wilderness Society. It was the first time back to night, the storm clouds aboveWashington for both ladies, and they did a wonderful job opened up to hail and snow.of walking the halls of Congress and carrying our message This did not dampen theirof thanks and to give places in White Pine County the pro- spirits or the campfire, horstection they deserve through wilderness designation. d’oeuvres and dinner. It was K. Connolly an indication of our location The next week was our own Nevada WildernessWeek. This is a tradition that was started three years ago and elevation: 8800 feet. Continued on pg. 4and has been made possible through the generous sup-port of the American Wilderness Coalition. Every Septem- In this Issue:ber we bring back a group of volunteers from across the Boots on the Ground- pg. 1state to speak on behalf of wilderness. By bringing newpeople back each year, we are able to show our repre- Volunteer Spotlight & Director’s Corner - pg. 2sentatives that there is wide support throughout the Feelings from the Field- pg. 3state for wilderness and we able to put “faces with Gold Butte and continued Adventures of the Tim-places.” This year, Heather Fisher of Blue Diamond, Pe- ber Creekettes - pg. 4ter Druschke of Las Vegas, Neil Frakes of Ely, Ross Cooperof Fernley, Pat Bruce and Andy Mitchell of Reno all made Volunteer Opps, Mormon Mountain Update & Cap-the trip. Highlights included breakfast with Congressmen tion Contest- pg. 5Gibbons and Porter and Senators Reid and Ensign in the WILD Calendar - pg. 6Capitol Building. For many, it was the first trip to Wash-ington, and we did spend some time taking in the sights
  2. 2. Nevada Wilderness Volunteer Spotlight: Derek Bloomquist Project Northern Office Fieldwork is not easy, and it is about as far removed from glamour as possible. You are at the mercy of the elements, alone and usu- 8550 White Fir Street ally very dirty. The days are long, and the work can be tedious Reno, NV 89523 and seemingly never ending. And for some reason Derek Bloom- 775.746.7850 quist keeps coming back for more. A longtime volunteer, Derek Southern Office has worked for several seasons with NWP in all corners of the state. His first fieldwork trip took him to the Owyhee Desert in NE4220 S. Maryland Pkwy Nevada in 2002, and he will be heading out again to finish our Suite 402B inventory in Washoe County’s wilderness study areas. He has Las Vegas, NV 89119 also spent time inventorying several areas in our current White 702.369.1871 Pine County proposal. In fact, his favorite spot is the Antelopewww.wildnevada.org Range, an area that features a variety of topography, relative lush vegetation and stunning limestone cliffs. As he heads out into A 501 (c) (3) non-profit the field again, he will have inventoried approximately corporation 700,000 acres in 2006 alone and well over a million acres since 2002. While out there, he will be lending some of his expertise to a new fieldworker for us. NWP Board of Directors Bret Birdsong, President Derek has never been shy when it comes to rugged adventure. This past spring, he completed a successful trip to the summit of Denali in Alaska via the West Buttress, a Brian O’Donnell, Vice President serious high elevation endeavor. And most free moments, he can be found either Lynn Schiek, Secretary hanging from a crag or spending time with his new fiancée, Emily. Thank you so Chris Todd much Derek for all that you do. Your work forms the cornerstone from which our Morlee Griswold work for wilderness designation is built. Tori King Director’s Corner NWP Staff John Wallin Some years ago, I had the privilege of working for an inner-city Director conservation organization in Washington, D.C. called the Earth Kristie Connolly Conservation Corps. The organization’s mission is to match Associate Director endangered environments with endangered youth who live Nancy Beecher there to the benefit of both, or as it says on their website: “As Conservation Director corps members improve their own lives, they rebuild the envi- Mackenzie Banta Development Director ronmental, social, and economic health of their communi- Cameron Johnson ties.” Northern NV Outreach Director My boss there was Bob Nixon, a kind and energetic man whose Cynthia Scholl Diet Coke fueled enthusiasm for the organization and the youth Membership Coordinator it served was an inspiration. Bob’s conservation background was deep and varied, Nancy Hall Gold Butte Organizer and as the Executive Producer of the film, Gorillas in the Mist, he came to know Dian Fossey, the legendary mountain gorilla advocate and practioner of “active conserva- Coalition Partners tion.” To prevent poaching, Fossey gave local Rwandans the tools and the resources Campaign for America’s Wilderness to start anti-poaching patrols—most notably, boots to protect their feet on long pa- Friends of Nevada Wilderness trols through rugged, dense forest. Her motto: “It’s not talking about conserva- Nevada Outdoor Recreation Assoc. tion, its acting. Conservation begins with the boots on your feet.” Red Rock Audubon Society Sierra Club - Toiyabe Chapter Lately, I’ve been thinking of Fossey’s quote because it embodies our approach to wil- The Wilderness Society derness work in Nevada. As we head into the final stretch of a busy 2006, we’ve got an array of “boots on the ground” in Nevada taking action. In this edition, you’ll read NWP about coalition members walking the marble halls of Congress, learn about who’s Mission Statement: been out sleeping in the dirt doing field inventories, plug into a gals-only wildernessThe Nevada Wilderness values trip on the first day of hunting season, and celebrate with our version of Nancy Project is committed to Sinatra as Nancy Hall laces up her boots in victory and walks all over a terrible Inter-saving spectacular, rug- Connect Tower proposal for the Mormon Mountains.ged-and imperiled-public lands in Nevada as Thanks to each and every one of you for heeding Dian Fossey’s words—withWilderness, the strongest your help, we are making sure that we’re acting, not just talking. protection possible.Page 2 www.wildnevada.org Fall 2006
  3. 3. From the field...“Pressed into a moment in time beyond the fringe near where the real wildlands begin, the essence of my being stirs the ancestors’ calling.”These words were written by Christopher Mehne as he conducted field inventoryfor the Nevada Wilderness Project. By meticulously ground-truthing wild lands ofNevada, Christopher took on an important role in our conservation work. Doingfield work out in the middle of nowhere is tricky work, requiring excellent drivingand survival skills on difficult and largely untravelled terrain…“Camped out on the lower slope which the quad map identifies as‘Indefinite Boundary’, now ain’t that the truth! Actually, I could turn onthe GPS unit and fix this location to what, a few yards – but then, out here,a few yards don’t mean a damn thing!”... a healthy sense of humor and respect for wildlife…“Finished off Bank Springs Unit, saw an antelope, and as I was exiting BigBlue [Christopher’s truck] to take one of those never-ending pictures of an-other dirt track, a small rattlesnake, about 2 foot with 6-8 buttons slith-ered under the front of the truck and coiled up by the right front tire as ifto say –‘Okay, human, what are you going to do about it?’. So I backed upand left the critter to his enjoyment.”... and a free spirit. Little did we know the truly free spirit within Christopher untilhe provided us with these excellent excerpts from his journal:“Half moon brilliant above the shadowy canyon walls, it hangs overheadbacklighting the northeasterly flow of clouds; the cicadas singing together with the bubble of the creek asharmony – an early September night at the southern end of the Toiyabe Range…”The Toiyabe mountain range, located in Northern Nye County/Southern Lander County, includes Arc Dome Wilderness(map inset). Thanks to Christopher and our other diligent temporary field workers, ground-truthing of the Nye Countyportions of the Toiyabe Range, as well as a good portion of the Shoshone Mountain Range lying just to the west, hasbeen completed.Protecting areas that surround Arc Dome Wilderness is a smart way to do conservation. Not only would we protectthese new individual tracts of land, but we would also protect a larger, connected landscape. Setting aside large con-nected wilderness areas is important for many reasons, one of which is to provide habitat for large roaming animals thatrequire room to migrate, disperse, set up territories and exist: “Seeing a full grown adult mountain lion at Little Meadows was the highlight of my field work. How about the big horned sheep, right there above Peavine Ranch? In my sixty years of being, a first wildlife sighting of both species outside a zoo. And ante- lope. On the western flanks of the Shoshone, numerous animals. A running herd of six. A grazing couple. An unknown number disappearing into a ravine by a catch ba- sin watering hole near Merritt Canyon. Coyote songs filled several nights, but not as often as I thought I would hear. Bat seen foraging at nightfall at Antelope Canyon, Peavine Canyon and Little Meadows. At Antelope [Canyon], a noticeable number of large dragonflies, working the area around me for sunset dinner.”Lest we forget, no animals would be here on earth if it weren’t for plants, and there exist amazing species and communi-ties of vegetation on our Nevada lands. For example, at higher altitudes you can find aspen groves, their white trunksand circular leaves are dead give-aways. An aspen tree grows and spreads its roots, and from that root system all of theother trees in the grove sprout up from the ground. One tree becomes a grove, and the grove is one organism.In just three weeks, Christopher ground-truthed approximately 180,000 acres of land.That’s a tremendous amount of work, from which he brought back wonderful data that we’reexcited to analyze. After all of this hard work, we’re sure that Christopher was very sleepy…“Light is fading fast, dragonflies flitting about, bats swirl in and out amongst thepinyon. At about 6500 feet, facing east, night descends quickly. A cool chill poursdown the canyon, as the sparkles of stars emerge overhead.” Sleep tight, Christopher. And Thank You!Page 3 www.wildnevada.org Fall 2006
  4. 4. Gold Butte UpdateNevada’s Piece of the Grand Canyon PuzzleCalling on all wild Nevadans!Now is time to help shape the future of Gold Butte.The Nevada Wilderness Project is looking for volun-teers for comments on the Interim Roads Designationand various service projects. No, the Bureau ofLand Management has not yet released the Envi-ronmental Assessment for the area. As I reportedbefore, it should be out for comment anytime.Meanwhile, there is plenty of work to be done. TheSouthern Nevada weather is superb this time of year, N. Hallso plan on coming out. I am arranging campouts andhikes to see a few of the most controversial roads. If you are unavailable on the scheduled dates, I will be happyto work around your schedule. The committee, Friends of Gold Butte, meets every third Tues- day of the month in Las Vegas or Mesquite. The meetings fea- ture a presentation connected to the area and is followed up with a service project. Anyone interested in attending, please let me know; I will send a schedule. While we savor the victory protecting Moapa Peaks’ vista, re- member it is all of us coming together that makes this happen. The rewards are tremendous! Fall flowers, glimpses of wild- life, vibrant sunsets and knowing through participation that N. Hall making a difference is possible. As our Director, John Wallin, says, “if you don’t, who will?”Check out our website, www.wildnevada.org, for more information on the Gold Butte area, photos and opportunities to get involved. Please feel free to contact me at nancy.hall@wildnevada.org or 702-277-3337. I look forward to hearing from you!Adventures of the Timber Creekettes continued... Also camped at Timber Creek were hunters from the Las Vegas area tak-ing advantage of opening deer-hunting season – not fall aspen colors! Saturday’shike up to the north fork ridge gave the ladies the opportunity to meet the tenmen and twelve horses. Upon the question of, “What are you girls doing hereon opening weekend?” Sue replied, “We are on a mission withwww.wildnevada.org. Have you heard of them?!” Obviously the men had notheard of the Nevada Wilderness Project and were not wanting to engage with agaggle of women enjoying the scenery. After taking in the view of Duck CreekValley and the Egan Range to the west with group pictures, the gals turned backtoward camp for an afternoon rest and a glass of wine. As the hunters made theirway down toward their camp, the ladies asked, “Where are you camped?” Towhich a man replied through clenched teeth, “Right next to you girls.” Three of the gals had split off from the group to explore Duck Creek valley from a different vantage point. As theywere driving back from Success Summit to camp, they passed three ATV’s laden with hunters headed out to look fordeer. Directly after them, a 5-point bull elk and cow pranced across the road toward the east. After crossing 30 feet infront of the ladies, they paused for a photo and then made their way into the trees. The women were excited to sharetheir viewing with the rest of the gals back at camp over dinner. Sunday morning found us taking down our camp and writing letters to our Senators regarding their full week-end and appreciation of the area. Driving out of Duck Creek Valley, the peaks of the Schell’s were dusted in white andthe foothills were ablaze in gold and orange with a brilliant blue sky above. Many thanks to the Timber Creekettes fortheir adventurous spirits: Mary Lou Banta, Debra Bookout, Kristie Connolly, Sue DiGrazia, Tory Garrison, Lynn Schiek,Cynthia Scholl and Maria Tiscareno.Page 4 www.wildnevada.org Fall 2006
  5. 5. Volunteer Opportunity — Celebrate the Spirit of NevadaThe Nevada Wilderness Project will be visiting homes of our members this holiday season in Southern and North-ern Nevada to “celebrate the spirit of Nevada.”We will be dropping by with beautiful slides and a raffle of free outdoor gear already wrapped and generously do-nated by outdoor industry companies. This is a chance for your friends and family to see another side of Nevadaand learn more about our work – as well as take home a holiday gift.We are happy to swing by for a brief time to share our mission.If you are interested in opening up your home to us, please contact Mackenzie at 775-746-7851.Volunteer Opportunity — Host a Slide ShowWant to have a party and see all those friends of yours who disappeared over the summer? Want to do somethingto help keep Nevada wild? The Nevada Wilderness Project is looking for a few good hosts! Host a party, and let usgive a slide show and quick update about the Congressional Bill for White Pine County. Slide shows last about 20minutes and are a fun way to help us get our message out by making your party special. If you’re interested,please contact Cameron Johnson at 775.746.7850.Mormon Mountain Wilderness VictoryThe Bureau of Land Management has announced their Record of Deci-sion on the Mesquite Tower proposed at the base of Moapa Peak. Inter-Connect Towers proposal was rejected! The area known as Jack’sPocket at the base of Moapa Peak is just outside the Mormon MountainWilderness. It is designated Area of Critical Environmental Concern(ACEC) for the threatened desert tortoise, and it’s a popular primitivecamp spot and staging area to climb the peak. Thanks to sixty letters tothe BLM in opposition that point out flaws in this project, the hike to thetop of Moapa Peak will continue to be an awe-inspiring experience.For more information on climbing the peak, check out N. Hallwww.summitpost.org , or contact Nancy Hall for more information.Caption Contest In an effort to inject a little more humor into our daily lives, we’re asking people to submit captions for our photos. To the right, you’ll find a photo. Submit the winning caption, and receive a prize, as well as your name and caption in print in the following newsletter. Please email submissions to cameron.johnson@wildnevada.org. Enjoy! “Easy DOEs it” Your caption here! Tim Bercrik—Ely, NVPage 5 www.wildnevada.org Fall 2006
  6. 6. NEVADA WILDERNESS CALENDAR WILDERNESS VALUES TRIPS & EVENTS Join NWP staff and volunteers on trips to potential wilderness areas! You can see beautiful places and help protect them at the same time by writing letters and plugging in to our ef- forts in a way that’s interesting and fun. All outings are weather permitting. Please log on to www.wildnevada.org for more information. Northern Nevada Events October 25—Wilderness Slide Show at Shady Grove Coffee Shop in Gardnerville Photo © Kristie Connolly October 27-30—Schell Creek Trip—wood cutting and hiking Please join us for our November 18— Smoke Creek Desert - explore the other playamonthly volunteer night at December 2—Winter Snowshoe/Ski/Hike in Bald Mountain - weather permitting Reno’s Great Basin Brewery Please contact Cameron Johnson at cameron.johnson@wildnevada.org for more information. (www.greatbasinbrewingco.com) Southern Nevada Events October 21, Gold Butte Campout This is a great time of year to get out in the desert for sunset and good company. Dinner will be provided for Saturday night. So, all you need is a couple lunches and a breakfast. The coffee is covered. November 18, Roads Survey Join BLM staff and Friends of Gold Butte to review the most controversial roads in the Interim Roads Des- ignation. December 2, Hike This is the time to catch one more hike in the desert before the holidays. Plan on bringing your camera for Oct 17, 6-8pm great shots of red rocks and Lake Mead. Nov 21, 6-8pm Please contact Nancy Hall at nancy.hall@wildnevada.org for more information. Dec12, 6-8pm Cover Photo by Howard Booth HELP US PROTECT YOUR WILDERNESS It’s easy to help… Cut out this form and mail it to: NV Wilderness Project, 8550 White Fir St; Reno, NV 89523 Comments:Enclosed is my donation of: I would like to make a recurring donation: Monthly $35.00 Every 3 months $50.00 Annually $100.00 Please include check or money Name Phone Number $250.00 order payable to: Nevada Wilderness Project. Address $500.00 For secure credit card Other Amount: ____________ transactions, please visit Email address http://www.wildnevada.org City State Zip Printed on recycled paper