25 Sep Release: State & Local Leaders Join Conservationists for Park Clean-Up, Unveil Proclamations in Celebration of 5th Nevada Public Lands Day
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 25, 2021
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State & Local Leaders Join Conservationists for Park Clean-Up, Unveil Proclamations in Celebration of 5th Nevada Public Lands Day
LAS VEGAS, NV – For the fifth year since Nevada Public Lands Day was established in 2017 by then-Governor Brian Sandoval, Nevada’s conservation, outdoor recreation, and wildlife advocacy community gathered to honor and celebrate the state’s public lands, parks, and national monuments.
This year, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, advocates held a park clean-up and scavenger hunt community event this morning at Mountain’s Edge Regional Park in the southwest Las Vegas valley, with masks and limited attendance to facilitate social distancing. A virtual celebration for statewide attendees will be held later this afternoon at 2:00PM. Groups organizing both events include Chispa Nevada, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, Get Outdoors Nevada, Institute for a Progressive Nevada, Native Voters Alliance of Nevada, and Nevada Conservation League.
Event organizers selected Mountain’s Edge Regional Park as one of the many parks funded by federal dollars under the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act (SNPLMA), created by the state’s 1988 congressional delegation.
Governor Steve Sisolak issued a proclamation declaring September 25, 2021, as Nevada Public Lands Day. Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones followed suit in presenting a proclamation on behalf of the County Commission. A copy of both proclamations can be found attached to this release.
“Public Lands Day is a wonderful opportunity to come together and celebrate Nevada’s vibrant wildlands, waterways, world-class outdoor adventures – and, most importantly – our shared role in protecting and preserving these natural treasures for generations to come,” Governor Steve Sisolak said in a statement about the proclamation. “We are truly blessed to live in a state that offers a myriad of opportunities to get outside and connect with nature in a safe, responsible, and sustainable way. With the mounting impacts of climate change, wildfire, drought and other extreme weather events are a constant threat to our prized public lands, and we must all work together to protect them. Under my administration, Nevada will continue to prioritize protecting our natural resources, strengthening our recreation and ecotourism economy, and ensuring equitable access for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to explore the outdoors and enjoy our state’s vast recreational splendor. I applaud all of our public lands champions across the Silver State working to protect Nevada’s celebrated outdoor heritage every day.”
At a press conference following the park clean-up, several state leaders and environmental organizations spoke to current priorities of the conservation movement in Nevada and future policy priorities for protecting these outdoor spaces.
“Nevadans have a deep appreciation for our public lands and waters and recognize the historical, cultural, and economic value they provide to our communities. National Public Lands Day is an opportunity to celebrate these valued spaces and recommit to doubling down our efforts in the conservation of these treasured spaces for future generations,” said Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones. “Clark County is proud to help lead in this work. Earlier this year, we voted unanimously to pass an ambitious conservation resolution that commits to conserving 30 percent of our lands and waters by the year 2030 to help fight the climate crisis and expand our Department of Environment & Sustainability to address inequities in air quality, clean energy, and job growth. I am excited to continue our work to protect our open spaces for years to come.”
“Nevada’s outdoor recreation economy supports 87,000 jobs and generates over $12.5 billion in annual economic activity,” said Treasurer Zach Conine. “We have a responsibility to protect and preserve our public lands, so we can support one of the State’s fastest-growing economic sectors.”
“So many of Nevada’s parks and outdoor spaces are inextricably tied to the forward-thinking policies which allowed for and funded their creation. We are proud to once again celebrate all of our public lands here at Mountain’s Edge Regional Park.” Maria-Teresa Liebermann-Parraga, Deputy Director of the Institute for a Progressive Nevada, said. “I grew up visiting our public lands with my family here in Nevada, and we at IPN work consistently to ensure that future generations understand the legacy and importance of these lands. Additionally, we hope to make our public lands accessible to every community, especially communities of color, so they can have the same opportunity to fall in love with the great outdoors. Today is also about paying respect to Indigenous people, who were, and still are, the caretakers of many outdoor spaces we visit or recreate in. We hope that in spite of the pandemic, Nevadans were able to get outdoors with their friends or family today to learn about and appreciate our unique public lands.”
Colin Robertson, Administrator of the Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation, said,
“Unfettered access to Nevada’s amazing public lands is one of our state’s most prized assets, and advancing sustainable, accessible, and affordable outdoor recreation opportunities across our abundant wildlands is at the heart of the Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation’s mission. I thank our many state, federal, and local partners for their active collaboration and support as we work together to strengthen Nevada’s outdoor recreation economy, protect the natural environment, and ensure the Silver State continues to be the number one place to live, work, and play.”
“Get Outdoors Nevada is dedicated to the stewardship of our public lands and shared outdoor spaces. Today’s cleanup brought together 100 volunteers committed to the beautification of the desert trails at Mountains Edge Park,” said Rachel Bergren, Get Outdoors Nevada Executive Director. “We invite the community to celebrate Public Lands Day every day and join us at a future volunteer event! www.GetOutdoorsNevada.org/Events.”
“Public Lands Day is an exciting opportunity to honor the many public lands Nevada has to offer. While we honor these lands, it’s crucial to honor the Indigenous people that are the traditional stewards of this land. Conservation would not exist without the work of generations of Tribal activists. Public Lands Day is the perfect time to highlight this history and the current work to preserve sacred spaces,” said Taylor Patterson, Executive Director of Native Voters Alliance-Nevada.
While over 7 million more Americans engaged in outdoor recreation activities in 2020, compared to 2019 the decline of visitors to Nevada during the pandemic led to losses for our local outdoor recreation industry. Nevada’s outdoor recreation industry supports 87,000 jobs and generates $12.5 billion for the state in annual economic activity, making it a critical piece of the overall state’s recovery.
When the Biden administration announced its America the Beautiful initiative through the Department of the Interior, to conserve 30% of US lands and waters by 2030, Nevada wasted no time putting forward it’s own resolution supporting the measure. As one of the most biodiverse states in the nation, and facing rapid loss to wildlife and habitats, Nevada is a ripe for policies encouraging cross-collaboration among federal agencies, tribes, state and local governments, farmers, ranchers, hunters, outdoor recreationalists, and other stakeholders to protect and preserve Nevada’s lands, waters, and wildlife.
In addition, Indigenous leaders and environmental advocates are increasingly calling for the designation of Avi Kwa Ame, also known as Spirit Mountain, as a National Monument, for it’s historical, cultural, and spiritual significance to Indigenous communities, and the biological necessity of protecting the plants and wildlife on the land as well. Recent polling of Nevada voters finds that nearly 62% of Nevada voters across partisan lines support designating Avi Kwa Ame as a National Monument.