RV tour fighting to keep Nevada’s national monuments safe


KSNV NEWS 3 LV- An RV bus rolled through Las Vegas on Friday as part of a conservation group’s fight against an executive order brought on by President Trump.

In April, the president issued an executive order instructing the Department of the Interior to review 27 national monuments federally protected over the last 21 years.

Two of those national monuments, Gold Butte and Basin and Range, are right here in Nevada

Members of the Center for Western Priorities are currently on a six-state RV road trip titled Monuments to America.

The RV stops are set to highlight national monuments throughout the West.

Alongside community members and local political leaders, the group held a press conference at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas on Friday, on their mission to stop the executive order and continue the federal protection of the land and waters under review.

Members with the group and on the tour are concerned the executive order is aimed at shrinking or eliminating the 27 named national monuments.

On the other side of the argument are those calling for the lands to be rescinded. Supporters of the executive order state that the current federal protections hurt their ability to use the land and also give the government too much influence in their lives.

Today in Las Vegas, those against the executive order pointed to the jobs, local economic impact, and calming way of life as some of the reasons the national monuments and other protected public lands should remain untouched.

Made up of Native American tribes, politicians, and environmental and conservation groups, Friday’s press conference speakers directly called on President Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke with their mission to continue the federal protection of Gold Butte and Basin and Range.

“If you’ve ever been to Gold Butte or Basin and Range, they are some of the most beautiful lands in the country and in the world,” said Congressman Ruben Kihuen. “We have petroglyphs and the cultural importance of that place – the Paiute have been there for thousands of years.”

“We have stories about these places, we have songs in our language about these places so I wanted to come here to at least try to let people know why these places are so special,” said Las Vegas Paiute Tribe member Fawn Douglas. “To know that it’s going to be reviewed to be either rescinded or cut down, it’s just a slap in the face to Native American people, especially the Paiute Tribes who have worked so hard to get these going … We have to keep fighting and doing whatever it is we can to educate people about why these lands are important, why the monuments are important. Not just to Nevadans but to Native American people because Basin and Range and Gold Butte are Paiute ancestral lands.”

Today’s Center for Western Priorities tour stop through Monuments to America comes in advance of a likely visit to Nevada by Interior Secretary Zinke, who is expected to tour Gold Butte National Monument as soon as next week.