Push to create East Las Vegas National Monument
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Nearly four million people a year visit Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on the westside of the Vegas Valley. Now there is a push to permanently protect more than 30,000 acres of land on the eastside of Las Vegas. Wednesday night, people came together at the East Las Vegas Library to lay out a path to establish the area as a new national monument.
“Most people don’t know that this area exists,” stated Taylor Patterson, Executive Director of Indigenous Voices Nevada. Between East Las Vegas and Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the area of Frenchman Mountain and Rainbow Gardens is a hidden treasure some have discovered.
“This is an area that deserves protection. People love this area...Whether it is the Bear Poppy which is the only place in the world where it grows or the Great Unconformity which is a geologic feature that is extremely important,” Patterson shared.
Dr. Steve Rowland, Professor Emeritus of Geology at UNLV, has been studying the area for 40 years.
“It is truly unique. There is nowhere else in the world that are exposed that are so readily accessible as Frenchman Mountain, so the whole history of the Earth almost is accessible right there,” Dr. Rowland revealed. Decades ago, Dr. Rowland was part of a group that installed interpretive panels so people could learn more about the geological wonderland.
“Within a year, those were completely destroyed by vandals,” Dr. Rowland recounted. Patterson, a member of the Bishop Paiute Tribe, says protecting the land from harm is also important to native people.
“We see this area being really torn apart by being over loved, by people dumping, shooting,” Patterson reported.
Everyone at the meeting came with personal connections to the land and to discuss the path the creating a national monument. For Nick Christenson, a member of the Sierra Club, creating more spaces for all to get outdoors is key for the future of the ever-growing population of Las Vegas.
“All of our other places where people can recreate outdoors are very very crowded, so we need some more spaces,” Christenson asserted.
The group is working to gather support and volunteers. You can sign the petition and learn more on this website: East Las Vegas Monument
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