Baker, Nevada — Environment Nevada released a new report today revealing that pristine areas in Great Basin National Park could be at risk of development and resource exploitation if bills moving through the House of Representatives are signed into law. The report, “Trashing our Treasures: Congressional Assault on the Best of America,” exposes a startling trend of legislative attacks on our nation’s treasured places, like Great Basin National Park.
“Great Basin National Park is one of Nevada’s greatest treasures— from its dusty deserts to glacial mountain tops to crystalline lakes, Great Basin National Park is home to mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, badgers, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope, and draws roughly 70,000 visitors every year.” said Candice Allouch, Field Organizer with Environment Nevada. “Yet Representative Amodei, Representative Heck and other members of Congress seem bent on trashing our treasures, and have launched an assault on the best of Nevada.”
The Environment Nevada report analyzes the effects various bills moving through the U.S. House of Representatives would have on Great Basin National Park and more than a dozen treasured places across the country. Like Great Basin, these beloved state and national landmarks provide clean water, improve air quality and support critical wildlife habitat, and drive recreation and tourism.
The Roadless Release Act and the Wilderness Development Act would allow road-building and logging in the most pristine areas within and surrounding Great Basin National Park. The Land Division Act, proposed by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), would force the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service to give away 5% of their public land to Nevada, free of charge. Nevada would have the opportunity to sell the more than 2.7 million acres of public land to the highest bidder, and in the process these lands would lose many environmental safeguards.
“Imagine this- you go to Great Basin National Park to experience the solitude of wilderness only to find that acres of forest have been clear cut. Or perhaps you’re hiking one of the remote trails deep in the park and are startled to look up and see trucks rumbling by,” remarked Allouch. “The Roadless Release and Wilderness Development Acts would allow road-building and logging in the most pristine and sensitive areas in and around Great Basin, even though Congress granted extra protections to these areas decades ago.”
“More than 70,000 people come to Great Basin National Park every year to marvel at the scenery, hike, camp, ski, and experience Lehman Caves with its 300 rare shield formations,” said Nancy Pyne, Environment America’s Preservation Advocate. “It is astounding that members of Congress, including Nevada’s own Mark Amodei and Joe Heck, would risk losing all of this by opening the most sensitive areas around Great Basin to road-building and mining.”
“The marble caverns and pristine waterways in Great Basin National Park were formed thousands of years ago, and for decades Congress has protected them; but this year, members of Congress want to risk destroying our state treasure by allowing road-building and mining,” concluded Allouch. “Nevadans need to say enough is enough. We call on our elected officials to reject these bills and make sure that visitors can continue to enjoy Great Basin National Park’s pristine beauty for generations to come.”