When most think of Southern Nevada, they envision the glitz & glamour of the Las Vegas Strip. Perhaps some also manage to imagine the emerging "hipster haven" of Downtown Las Vegas. Perhaps a few can even manage to picture the wonder of the Hoover Dam & O'Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge, and/or the natural phenomenon that is Red Rock Canyon.
Just imagine what these potential tourists would think if they knew about Gold Butte.
We've been following this story for some time. Activists have been working for years to secure federal protection for a very special stretch of land. And they encountered a historic breakthrough last May when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) and Rep. Steven Horsford (D-North Las Vegas) introduced legislation to create a National Conservation Area (NCA) for "Nevada's Piece of the Grand Canyon".
So what's next for Gold Butte? We've been waiting all these years for the final move that will save Gold Butte for future generations. Will this bill finally get us there?
ProgressNow Nevada isn't waiting any longer. It's now calling on President Obama to declare Gold Butte a National Monument. (Under the Antiquities Act, the President has the authority to do so.)
Why? Take a look at the productivity (or lack thereof) of this current Congress. If Congress struggles to even keep the government open and pay its own bills, how can we realistically expect it to handle issues like preserving Gold Butte & other sensitive public lands?
But then again, miracles occasionally happen. And if anyone can make miracles happen on Capitol Hill, it's Harry Reid. Perhaps he can figure out a way to get this Congress to save Gold Butte.
But what if he can't? How much more political limbo can Gold Butte endure? How much more neglect & degradation of this unique Nevada treasure must occur before someone finally takes action to save it? Who really wants to risk waiting until it's too late?
There's Gold out there. And it's just too golden and too precious to let waste. Sooner or later, someone will have to save it. And the one question that remains is: How much longer must we wait?