To the Editor:
California, Arizona and Utah have large federal conservation lands that attract tourists from around the world. In Las Vegas, visitors from around the world use our city as a hub to visit Death Valley, the Grand Canyon and Zion — all of which are in other states. We could keep these visitors in Nevada, and keep their tourist dollars here, if we developed park areas of similar quality.
With Red Rock Canyon, the Spring Mountains, Lake Mead, Valley of Fire and Great Basin as our base, we could add Gold Butte and Basin and Range to create our own grand circle of parks in Nevada. By keeping tourists in our state, or even just connecting our parks with those in other states, Nevada could develop an energetic outdoor tourist economy in gateway communities on par with our neighbors.
Gold Butte (Clark County), with its many wonders, is well-known to local outdoor enthusiasts, but Basin and Range (Lincoln and Nye Counties) is little-known. Basin and Range offers grand vistas, from enormous unspoiled basins to snow-capped mountain ranges, with a cultural history spanning the last 11,000 years and remarkable geologic formations. Conserving Basin and Range would also enable Nevada ranchers to stay on the land as they have for generations, keep open miles of back roads and conserve the unspoiled view from Michael Heizer’s land art project, “City.”
Basin and Range is already federal land, so enormous benefit could be gained in Nevada by drawing a line on a map, changing the name of the enclosed area and constructing a couple of campgrounds. This seems like a no-brainer for rural economic development.