Friday, March 29, 2013

Friends in the News: Thank You to Alternative Spring Breakers!

Kurt Kuznicki, Southern Nevada Program Director, wrote to the Reno Gazette-Journal about the hard work and long hours volunteers put in over Alternative Spring Break in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge! Check out the Letter to the Editor here: http://www.rgj.com/article/20130330/OPED02/303300025/Student-volunteers-helped-protect-public-lands?nclick_check=1

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the 14 University of Nevada, Reno, students and other volunteers for making a difference to Nevada’s public lands and wildlife habitat during their Alternative Spring Break volunteer project last week.
These intrepid volunteers put aside thoughts of beaches and margaritas, hopped in the van and drove over 400 miles to make a difference for our public lands by working with Friends of Nevada Wilderness, Great Basin Institute and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to remove obsolete fences and protect critical wildlife habitat in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge near Las Vegas.

These volunteers worked hard, laughed a lot and watched as spring burst forth from the trees around us in camp. Along the way, they explored giant sand dunes and contemplated prehistoric rock art.

Thank you all for donating your time to make Nevada a better place.

Kurt Kuznicki
Southern Nevada Director
Friends of Nevada Wilderness

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Alternative Spring Break: The Final Day of Stewardship

After our morning stretch and safety circle, we hit the road for our final day of projects. We split into two teams, one team worked on pulling out old t-posts, while the second team worked to naturalize an illegal trespass.

Team one pulled over thirty posts and team two naturalized over a quarter of a mile of trespass - go spring breakers!

Tomorrow we're looking forward to a fun day exploring Cathedral Gorge State Park - with almost 2,000 acres of rock spires and cave-like formations, we are in for a quite a wild Nevada sight!


Stretch for safety's sake!

Kickin' butt and takin' names - the final day of stewardship ends in triumphant smiles!

Dawn admires a Joshua Tree, found exclusively in the Mojave Desert!
Double the hands make the job easy and fun!
Hip hip hooray for big horns!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Alternative Spring Break: Pictographs and Petroglyphs, Oh My!

Day three started with a trip to Eaglehead to remove the rest of the rusty old fence. We happened to run into a refuge archeologist, who gave us an impromptu lesson on petroglyphs. Do you know the difference between a petroglyph and pictograph? Find out at the bottom of this post!

We then headed to an area just around the corner from Eaglehead to remove some more old rusty fence, which our awesome volunteers made quick work of.

For the last project of the day, spring breakers naturalized an illegal trespass using vertical mulch and rocks to disclose the track.

Dinner is now on the stove, smelling delicious. I can't wait to eat!


Wilderness stewardship - a bonding experience you'll
remember (and feel in your muscles!) in the morning!

All in a day's work!

Pictographs are painted or drawn, while petroglyphs are carved into the surface!

Thank You, Congressman Horsford!

March 1, 2013


The Honorable Steven Horsford
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515


Dear Congressman Horsford:

We want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule this past week to take an aerial tour of Gold Butte, an area which deserves permanent federal protection as a National Conservation Area with wilderness. As you have seen, Gold Butte is a spectacular place, with yucca forests, slot canyons, ancient petroglyphs, and panoramic vistas that make it a natural treasure for southern Nevada and the nation.

The prospect of permanent protection is significant because it will do more than ensure that Gold Butte is preserved for future generations to enjoy, but it will also put Gold Butte on the map, creating outdoor recreation opportunities that will stimulate tourism, create jobs and enhance the economy of Mesquite and southern Nevada. As business owners, conservation leaders and responsible citizens, we think this is a win-win situation for all concerned.

Gold Butte is known as "Nevada’s Piece of the Grand Canyon," and we are excited to see renewed momentum to create the recognition it deserves.

Thank you again for your interest and for your encouragement. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to help.

Sincerely,

Nancy Hall
Executive Director
Friends of Gold Butte
Mesquite, NV

Shaaron Netherton
Executive Director
Friends of Nevada Wilderness
Reno, NV

Jamie Williams
President
The Wilderness Society
Washington, DC

Nancy Gentis
President
Friends of Sloan Canyon
Las Vegas, NV

Lynn Davis
Nevada Director
Tule Springs Coalition
Las Vegas, NV

Brian Fadie
Executive Director
Progress Now Nevada
Las Vegas, NV

Bob Fulkerson
Executive Director
Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN)
Las Vegas, NV

Rosemary Geary
State President
Nevada League of Women Voters
Mesquite, NV

Scot Rutledge
Executive Director
Nevada Conservation League
Las Vegas, NV

Jane Feldman
Executive Director
Sierra Club of Nevada
Reno, NV

Tom Warden
Senior Vice President of Community and Government Relations
The Howard Hughes Corporation
Las Vegas, Nevada

Karl Gustaveson
Mesquite City Council
Mesquite, NV

Richard Bryan
Former U.S. Senator
Las Vegas, NV

Aaron Ford
Chair of Natural Resources Committee
Nevada State Senate
Las Vegas, NV

Skip Daly
Chair of Natural Resources Committee
Nevada State Assembly
Reno, NV

David Bobzien
Member
Nevada State Assembly
Las Vegas, NV

Virginia Valentine
Executive Director
Nevada Resort Association
Las Vegas, NV

Sig Rogich
Owner
Rogich Communications Group
Las Vegas, NV

Danny Thompson
Executive Secretary Treasurer
AFL-CIO of Nevada
Las Vegas, NV

Jared Fisher
Owner
Escape Adventures
Las Vegas, NV

Heather Fisher
Founder
Save Red Rock
Las Vegas, NV

Jenna Morton
Co-Owner
Morton Group
Las Vegas, NV 3

Terri Rylander
Owner
Advanced Marketing Collateral
Mesquite, NV

Mauricia Baca
Executive Director
Outside Las Vegas Foundation
Las Vegas, NV

John Williams
City Council Candidate
Mesquite, NV

Cindi Delaney
Owner
Mesquixote Communications
Mesquite, NV

Bill & Elaine Hurd
Owners
Hurd Works LLC
Mesquite, NV

Mark McGinty
Partner
SH Architecture
Las Vegas, NV

Dennis Stein
Principal
Dennis Stein and Associates
Las Vegas, NV

Bill Marion
Principal
Purdue Marion & Associates
Las Vegas, NV

Doug Geinzer
CEO
Southern Nevada Medical Industry Coalition
Las Vegas, NV

Adele Newberry
Manager
Connaghan Newberry Law Firm
Las Vegas, NV

Otto Merida
President
Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce
Las Vegas, NV

Norberto Madrigal
Owner
Lunas Companies
Las Vegas, NV

Alberto Ochoa
Owner
Smart Buy Insurance
Las Vegas, NV

Daisy Reyes
Owner
Esmeralda's Café
Las Vegas, NV

Jonathan Spears
Owner
Sage Designs
Las Vegas, NV

Geoff Rhodes
Owner
R&D Events
Las Vegas, NV

Jim Boone
Owner
Desert Wildlife Consultants, LLC
Las Vegas, NV

Michael Dandridge
Owner
HRisFUN
Las Vegas, NV

Maria Marinch
Owner
Language Sources
Henderson, NV

Raul Gil
Owner
Casa Don Juan Restaurant
Las Vegas, NV

Abraham Camejo
Owner
Noabrisa Cleaning Service
Las Vegas, NV

Vicenta Montoya
Owner
Vicenta Montoya Immigration Law
Las Vegas, NV

Sergio Perez
Owner
Florida Cafe Cuban Bar and Grill
Las Vegas, NV

Orfelina Roa
Owner
Obsession Beauty Salon
Las Vegas, NV

Lydia Ball
Executive Director
Clean Energy Project
Las Vegas, NV

Sasha Ilic
Key Holder
LUSH
Las Vegas, NV

CC: Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Alternative Spring Break: White Sand and Rusty Fence, or Day Two of Work

Our twelve Alternative Spring Break volunteers had fun today at the white dunes of the Desert Refuge by restoring an illegal trespass. After the dunes, we headed to Eaglehead, removing rusty barbed wire fence and spending a few moments learning about the people who called the refuge home centuries ago.

Spring Breaker and Board Treasurer Larry smiles for the camera!

Definitely not natural! Our volunteers are doing others a favor by picking up their left traces.

The team spent the afternoon working in Eaglehead to remove old fence obstructing
wildlife water access and migration paths. The area is also home to petroglyphs and historical artifacts - little bits of Nevada's past. Native Americans have called the refuge home for over 5,000 years, with the Las Vegas Paiute Reservation visible from Corn Creek Station on the west side of the refuge.

Time to tuck in after a long, hard day of work and a Dutch oven dinner of pork and beans with
ginger apple cake for dessert - yum!

Alternative Spring Break: Birdsongs in the Morning


Waking up to swallow songs - is there anything better? We'll have video next week, but for now here is a clip from YouTube so you can share in a little natural music!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Alternative Spring Break: Day One

Volunteers working hard on day one of alternative spring break!

Safety first! Great Basin Institute's Matt Flores talks hydration, helmets, and heat.

No waves in sight, but plenty of sand and sky for Spring Breakers!

Un-creating an illegal track: volunteers use rocks and dead brush to camouflage an illegal route, and turn up dirt to encourage new growth.

Alternative Spring Break: Lake-Side Accomodations

What a view! Spring Breakers are stationed northeast of  Las Vegas at the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, part of the Desert Refuge Complex system. The spring-fed refuge - founded in 1963 and comprising almost 6,000 acres - offers a scenic vacation spot for migrating birds, with over 250 different species spotted on the refuge. (photo by Kurt Kuznicki)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Alternative Spring Break: Ready to Hit the Road!

Spring Breakers smile for the camera before loading up for the long drive to the Desert National Wildlife Refuge and the third annual Alternative Spring Break with Friends of Nevada Wilderness. Did you know? The Desert National Wildlife Refuge was created to protect the bighorn sheep, Nevada's state mammal.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Before and After: A Trio of Range Removal Shots

Before: an old trough mars the beauty of wild Nevada...

Until Dan and Renee hit the scene with a blowtorch!

After: wild Nevada is back to its rugged, stark beauty
with no trough to detract from the view! (all photos by Renee Aldrich)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Gold Butte Update with Protect Nevada!

We’re delighted to provide you, our supporters, with some exciting updates on what we’ve been doing over the last couple of months to help make protection for Gold Butte a reality.
Congressman Steven Horsford smiles for the camera before his helicoptor
flight over Gold Butte (photo courtesy of Congressman Horsford's Facebook page)
February was a busy and exciting time as Congressmen Steven Horsford (NV-4) viewed Gold Butte from a bird’s eye view. The Congressman took part in a helicopter flyover of the amazing landscape and said he looks forward to working with us to add further protection for Gold Butte, even tweeting during the flight, “Thank you for the tour! Look forward to working with you to preserve and protect Gold Butte.” You can view several wonderful photos from the flyover taken by the Congressman’s staff on the “Protect Nevada” facebook page.
Mesquite Off-Road Days course - bringing together people who enjoy
responsible recreation! (photo by Kurt Kuznicki)
On February 23-24, the first ever Mesquite Off-Road Weekend event drew adrenaline dare devils and leisurely riders alike to the area to enjoy the beauty of Nevada’s outdoors, including our own piece of the Grand Canyon, Gold Butte. The event included rides, races, and performances, all showing off the amazing landscapes that are found here. Staff and volunteers from Friends of Gold Butte and Friends of Nevada Wilderness had a booth at the event to educate attendees about how efforts to protect Gold Butte would keep open current routes designated for vehicle and other access. We would like to thank and congratulate the primary event sponsor, the Eureka Resort and Casino, for producing what we hope will become an annual event.

In addition, last month the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) released some noteworthy statistics highlighting the financial impact that outdoor recreation has on local economies, furthering the case for protecting public lands like Gold Butte. According to OIA’s report, outdoor recreation in Nevada produces $14.9 billion in revenue annually and is responsible for 148,000 jobs that cater to and equip out-of-state visitors and residents alike. This results in $1.0 billion in state and local tax revenue. The report shows that, even in the midst of the worst economic recession in more than 70 years, outdoor recreation as a significant Nevada industry has continued to prosper, and the results have many Nevada business leaders talking about how we can expand those opportunities.
Gold Butte Days Festival includes races and
community vendors (photo courtesy of the Mesquite Local News)
Mark your calendars! Gold Butte Days is around the corner. This year’s event will take place October 18-19. “Gold Butte Days” will involve local businesses and organizations that wish to participate in a street fair, outdoor activities and entertainment events to publicize Mesquite’s proximity to one of the most beautiful corners of the American Southwest.
We hope you’ll join our collaborative efforts with other local organizations and businesses as we continue protecting the beautiful wonders of Nevada. “Like” and follow “Protect Nevada” on Facebook and Twitter to stay informed and join the discussion.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013