Analysis

5 Reasons to Protect Gold Butte

Covering almost 350,000 acres in southeastern Nevada, Gold Butte is Nevada’s piece of the Grand Canyon. Located between the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, it was formed by the same geologic forces that created Arizona’s Grand Canyon and is a treasure trove of cultural, historic, and natural wonders.

Gold Butte© The Pew Charitable Trusts

Native Americans have a long history in the area, as evidenced by its numerous petroglyphs. The Moapa Band of Paiute Indians and the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe consider Gold Butte to be sacred.

1. Irreplaceable cultural heritage

Petroglyphs and shelters dating back over 12,000 years can be found throughout the area. However, vandals have damaged many artifacts; without protection, countless priceless relics could be lost forever.

Gold Butte© Joseph Dovala

Many plants and animals live in this important habitat, including desert tortoise, Gambel’s quail, Gila monsters, and desert bighorn sheep (above).

2. Habitat for iconic desert species

Gold Butte’s populations of bighorn sheep, mule deer, chukar, and quail make the area a popular destination for big game and upland bird hunters and photographers. Protecting Gold Butte as a national monument would maintain existing activities as well as wildlife management.

Little Finland© Sumiko Scott

Red sandstone formations known as hobgoblins—sculpted by wind and water over eons—rival the best of the southwestern deserts.

3. Rich natural wonders

Dramatic geologic formations—slot canyons and alcoves, stunning red rock, and countless canyons and washes that drain into the Virgin and Colorado rivers—make Gold Butte a unique place to visit.

Gold Butte© Kurt Kuznicki

Gold Butte offers visitors a view of breathtaking dark skies.

4. Abundant recreational opportunities

Gold Butte is an outdoor lover’s mecca, where visitors can hike, hunt, camp, bird-watch, and ride off-highway vehicles and bicycles along designated routes.

Gold Butte© Kurt Kuznicki

Safeguarding a special place such as Gold Butte encourages tourism, increases expenditures at local businesses, and creates a desirable place for people to live and work.

5. Boost local communities

Raising local communities’ visibility can play a pivotal role in attracting and retaining people and businesses and boosting economies. A 2015 study by Applied Analysis found that a national monument designation for Gold Butte could contribute nearly $2.7 million per year in economic activity and increase the number of jobs by 60 percent.

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