Less than two hours away (driving) from the hustle and bustle of the Fabulous Las Vegas Strip lies perhaps the most valuable treasure of Nevada that you haven't (yet) heard about. This is indeed a special place, a place filled with ancient Native American petroglyphs and stunning rock formations. This is truly the Mojave Desert at its finest.
And believe it or not, it has the potential to boost Southern Nevada's economy exactly when we need help the most.
And there is widespread bipartisan support from local environmental AND business leaders for federal action to preserve Gold Butte... Yet someone is missing in this picture. Can you tell who?
Gold Butte protection has been endorsed by prominent local leaders –including Caesars Entertainment Group, the Mesquite City Council and the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians. Businesses large and small are recognizing that Gold Butte provides vital recreation and tourism jobs and is increasingly important to the Southern Nevada economy.
Rep. Joe Heck currently represents the Gold Butte area. He has met with local residents to discuss possible legislation but so far has not introduced a bill creating a National Conservation Area with Wilderness for Gold Butte.
“It’s a false argument to say that Gold Butte would be ‘locked up’ with no public access if it were to become a national conservation area,” Tull said. “The law would guarantee that not a single mile of the 500 miles of roads in Gold Butte would be closed.”
Instead, making the area a National Conservation Area with Wilderness could have the effect of opening up Gold Butte to more admirers, Tull said.
“Instead of rushing past the exit sign on Interstate 15, travelers would be drawn into Mesquite, where a new visitor center would introduce them to the amenities of Gold Butte, educate them about nearby recreational opportunities, and help them plan how to enjoy their exploration of the area,” he said. “Such a visitor center has long been needed for this important corner of Nevada.”
As we've discussed before, Joe Heck likes to talk about creating jobs... But he won't actually put his votes where his mouth is. We're seeing this yet again with Gold Butte, and that's why ProgressNow Nevada has launched WhatTheHeckJoe.com. Southern Nevada needs federal level action on Gold Butte in order to protect this special natural treasure and boost our local economy by giving tourists a good reason to stay and play longer here (thereby creating more jobs). And while Heck has occasionally staged quite the razzle dazzle of a show for the media, he still has not introduced any legislation in Congress to solve this problem.
Yet while Heck dilly-dallies and hems and haws and finds more excuses for inaction, vandalism, off trail ATV drives, unruly shooting, and other harmful activities of some disrespectful visitors threaten the future of Gold Butte. Again, there's widespread support for meaningful action to save Gold Butte. So what the heck is Joe Heck waiting for?