Why is permanently protecting Gold Butte important?

Gold Butte is Nevada’s piece of the Grand Canyon and a treasure trove of cultural, historic, and natural wonders.
These wonders include thousands of petroglyphs; historic mining- and pioneer-era artifacts; rare and threatened wildlife such as the Mojave Desert tortoise and desert bighorn sheep; dramatic geologic features like sculpted red sandstone and rock spires; and fossil track-sites dating back 170 to 180 million years ago.
In addition, Gold Butte is an amazing place open to multiple uses where people can experience the great outdoors through hiking, hunting, birding, camping, ORV riding on designated roads, and traditional tribal uses.
In recent years, we have seen the acceleration of damage to treasured sites and habitat. Every day that Gold Butte is not protected we are losing valuable cultural, historical, and natural resources. Now is the time to protect Gold Butte.

    What does “permanent protection” mean?

• Currently advocates are urging Congress or the President of the United States to preserve Gold Butte by one of several designations – a national conservation area or a national monument.
• National conservation areas and national monuments are designations to conserve, protect, restore, and manage federal public lands for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. Protected for the people by the people, these areas exist for you to experience the wild beauty, landmarks and legacies that have endured for generations—in your own way, and on your own terms.
• A national conservation area can only be designated by Congress, whereas a national monument can be designated by either Congress or the President. Whether it becomes a national monument or a national conservation area, Gold Butte would still be managed by the BLM.

    What are the benefits of permanently protecting Gold Butte?

• Protects cultural, historical and natural treasures: A permanent designation will keep Gold Butte the way it is for the enjoyment of current and future generations. It will ensure that special cultural, historical and natural resources are permanently safeguarded for now and for future generations.
• Support our local economies: Protected public lands create visibility for local communities. This can play a pivotal role in attracting and retaining people and businesses which would boost the local economy. For example, a recent economic study showed that protecting Gold Butte may support a 60% increase in the number of local jobs (Applied Analysis, 2015).
• Enhance access for public input: The management of national conservation areas and national monuments take into consideration local priorities. Our communities would have an opportunity to provide local input when Gold Butte-specific management plan was developed.
• Protect existing rights: Both national conservation areas and national monuments honor existing public access and rights-of-ways.

    How would the local economy be impacted by permanently protecting Gold Butte?

Protected public lands create visibility for local communities which can play a pivotal role in attracting and retaining people and businesses, boosting local economies. Statewide, the outdoor recreational economy creates 47,000 jobs and $150 billion in revenue (Outdoor Industry Association, 2013).
A recent economic study showed that protecting Gold Butte may contribute nearly $2.7 million per year and provide a 60% increase in the number of jobs (Applied Analysis, 2015). Other studies have shown that where national monuments had been established, jobs, quality of life, and personal wealth increased in the surrounding areas (Headwaters Economics, 2014).
Mesquite is the gateway to Gold Butte and can benefit from increased tourists drawn to a nationally recognized and protected treasure that a permanent designation creates.

    Will permanently protected Gold Butte affect water rights?

No. A federal designation will not impact any existing or future use of water. In addition, federal designation would not affect any allocation of water or water rights nor create any new water rights. Moreover, any designation would honor any valid existing rights-of-ways.

    Will the public still have access to the roads if Gold Butte is permanently protected?

Yes. National conservation areas and national monuments allow for broad access for a variety of uses. Motorized travel in Gold Butte is allowed on legal roads and routes. These existing legal roads and routes give locals and visitors continued access to outdoor recreation activities such as hiking, hunting, birding, camping, and ORV riding.

    What will happen to private lands if Gold Butte is permanently protected?

Nothing. Any federal designation applies only to federal lands, and does not apply to private land, there are absolutely no additional regulations on private land from any federal designation. Further, private property owners are guaranteed access to their land.

    Will the community have a voice in the management of Gold Butte if it is permanently protected?

Yes, national conservation areas and national monuments ensure our public lands are managed with local input to facilitate careful, responsible enjoyment of public lands. The management of these areas takes into consideration local priorities which may include assessing opportunities to preserve cultural and historic sites, to improve and manage recreational experiences, and to enhance and restore native plants and wildlife habitat.
In the case of a monument designation, the community would be invited to participate in a formal public input process with Bureau of Land Management – the agency which manages these lands – to help develop a Gold Butte-specific management plan.