Gold Butte risks losing federal designation - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Gold Butte risks losing federal designation

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Gold Butte could lose its federal designation. (FOX5) Gold Butte could lose its federal designation. (FOX5)
(FOX5) -

Southern Nevada land is at the center of a political battle. Gold Butte National Monument could lose its federal designation.

President Donald Trump ordered a review of all national monuments created in the last two decades.

Gold Butte is a 300,000 acre plot of land most of it is untouched. With the federal designation, it would stay that way. But some people who live near Gold Butte said making it a monument means they can’t enjoy or use the land like they have for the last several decades. It lies east of Lake Mead, about 90 minutes from the valley.

"It’s just an incredibly spectacular landscape, it has ancient petroglyphs.” “It’s just a place you can go to experience the beauty and the solitude of the Mojave Desert,” Jaina Moan, friends of Gold Butte said.

Moan said she has advocated for Gold Butte for years, helping the land get government protection last Dec.

"What the monument status does is it offers an additional protection for that land."

Last week, when Trump ordered a review of dozens of the country's national monument designations, including Gold Butte's.

"(I’m) very angry, actually, to say that we are going to review these places of antiquity is truly a threat to these beautiful places that we have,” Moan said.

The anger is a familiar feeling in Bunkerville, the town just north of Gold Butte. But the frustration didn't come after President Trump's order. It came when President Barack Obama made the plot a national monument in the first place.

"I don't think it should be a national monument, that's what I'd say."

David Oscar Christianson said he has lived near Gold Butte for decades. He said he's seen the landscape change since the land became a national monument.

"They first started off putting posts in the trails we had, no atvs,” Christianson said. “They started putting them all over. Some people would ignore that and then they would get a ticket from New York or somewhere … “I just quit going out there."

People on both sides of the issue have said someone needs to take care of the land.

"I believe in the Constitution, I believe the land is for the people and the state should run as much of it as possible," Christianson said. "We believe if the national monument designation is revoked, it will lead to increasing damage to the land."

Last week, the Nevada assembly passed resolution supporting it. The review would also affect Nevada's basin and range national monument. 

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