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Bills Introduced to Protect Nevada's Piece of the Grand Canyon

Nevada Senator Harry Reid and Congressman Steven Horsford have introduced legislation to protect Gold Butte, an area between the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in Arizona and Lake Mead National Recreation Area, just south of Mesquite, Nevada.

Senator Reid’s Gold Butte National Conservation Area Act and Representative Horsford’s Virgin Valley Tourism and Lake Mead Preservation Act will designate a 345,000-acre National Conservation Area, which includes nearly 130,000 acres of wilderness. In addition, 92,000 acres of wilderness will be designated within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

"We are thrilled to celebrate the introduction of legislation to protect Gold Butte’s extraordinary vistas, archeology, and economic value,” says Mike Matz, director of the U.S. public lands project at The Pew Charitable Trusts. “By working to preserve this natural jewel in Nevada, Senator Harry Reid and Congressman Steven Horsford honor the rich Native American and pioneer heritage sites within its rugged sandstone ridges and slot canyons, while safeguarding the juniper and pinion habitat of bighorn sheep, kit fox, and the threatened desert tortoise. Senator Reid has long been a champion of public lands, and understands the local economic benefits that come with protective designations. Likewise, Congressman Horsford has made clear his commitment to lands conservation with two of his first pieces of federal legislation aiming to protect public lands for the benefit of local communities."

Gold Butte is One Step Closer to Protection

Learn About Pew's Work in the Gold Butte Area:

Gold Butte - Nevada's Piece of the Grand Canyon

Tucked between the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in Arizona and Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada, Gold Butte is named for the historic mining town of the early 1900s. However, it is much more than the scattered remnants of early mining. It is 350,000 acres of mountains, Joshua tree and Mojave yucca forests, magnificent panels of petroglyphs and rock art, outcroppings of sandstone, and braided washes that form slot canyons.

For more than a decade, wilderness advocates in southern Nevada have been working to protect Gold Butte. From the Bureau of Land Management’s Black Ridge and Virgin Peak in the north, to Hell’s Kitchen—managed by the National Park Service in the southern reaches—these wild desert landscapes are only a few hours north of Las Vegas.

Gold Butte has been described as an art gallery with unique patterns and sculptures; it is known as the body, mind, and soul to the Moapa band of Paiutes, and has been called one of the most solitary places in America just a short drive from one of the most vibrant centers of pop culture.

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Dispatch from Gold Butte, Nevada

By Lindsay Schlageter

Gold Butte is located between the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in Arizona and Lake Mead National Recreation Area, just south of Mesquite, Nev. It is named for the historic mining town of the early 1900s, long abandoned though traces remain.

Recently, my Pew colleagues Carrie Sandstedt, Anders Reynolds, and I joined volunteers and coalition partners on a tour of Gold Butte, with a hike into Little Finland.

Coalition Partners and volunteers pose in Whitney Pockets, Nevada.

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Take a Video Tour of Gold Butte