Administration Pledges to Conserve Nevada Public Lands Via Antiquities Act

President promises action to protect Avi Kwa Ame and surrounding region, which comprise ancestral lands of 12 Indigenous tribes and important desert bighorn habitat

MISSOULA, Mont. – Backcountry Hunters & Anglers applauded a pledge by the administration today to conserve vital wildlife habitat and important cultural lands in southern Nevada.

In remarks made at the White House Tribal Nations Summit, President Joe Biden vowed to advance the long-term conservation of the region, which encompasses Avi Kwa Ame, or Spirit Mountain, as well as Joshua tree forests, desert landscapes and the ancestral lands of 12 Indigenous tribes. The area is home to diverse species of wildlife and their habitat, including migration corridors for desert bighorn sheep, and is surrounded by nine distinct wilderness areas.

Under the proclamation language being considered, the state of Nevada would retain wildlife management authority including active management for water resources on which wildlife populations depend. Hunting and continued public access opportunities would be sustained, as well.

“Hunters appreciate the vital role played by these Nevada lands to sustaining important populations of desert bighorn sheep and other wildlife, as well as their cultural importance to Indigenous communities,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “Today we offer our sincere thanks to the administration for heeding the calls of local stakeholders and for recognizing the crucial linkages these lands provide – biologically, culturally, recreationally and economically – by undertaking action to ensure their permanent conservation.

“We remain committed to collaborative efforts to advance management plans that retain access for hunting and active wildlife management needs,” emphasized Tawney. “We ask the administration to move forward expeditiously and officially proclaim Avi Kwa Ame National Monument.”

BHA and a diverse community of stakeholders, including Indigenous tribes, business owners and local residents, have been united in advocating for permanent conservation measures that protect the unique cultural values and intact wildlife habitat found in this region. Many of these individuals, including BHA volunteers and staff, came together at a meeting convened by the Interior Department earlier this month in Laughlin, Nevada, near the proposed monument’s southern boundary.

“The Nevada chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is heartened by the united support shown by these diverse voices for the permanent conservation of this unique region and important wildlife habitat in southern Nevada,” said Karen Boeger, a member of the NV BHA board, after the meeting. “We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with other members of our community in urging the administration to act now in conserving Avi Kwa Ame for future generations to experience and enjoy.”

BHA has consistently advocated for America’s national monuments system and the judicious use of the Antiquities Act as a way to permanently conserve important large landscapes. Key to achieving this outcome is a process that adheres to specific tenets and is locally driven, transparent, incorporates the science-based management of habitat, and upholds existing hunting and fishing opportunities.

In 2016, BHA and a consortium of outdoor groups and businesses released a report on how national monument designations can sustain important fish and wildlife habitat while maintaining traditional hunting and fishing access.

Read National Monuments: A Sportsman’s Perspective. 

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