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Autumn in Nevada: The Wonders Among Us

Guest Blog Series

In honor of Nevada Day, we have published a short series of guest blog posts about Nevada, with an emphasis on our state’s stunning landscapes and natural resources. These posts have been written by our friends and supporters from across the state. Inspired? Feel free to contact us with questions or a submission: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas, NV
Image by Rodger Podlogar © 2013

The Wonders Among Us

By Peter Frigeri

The sky was a dull indigo. The air still had some of the night’s sting in it, and my nose was a little numb. I stood there, wondering if I’d worn the right clothes. Above me, the Spring Mountains rose resolutely against all change. Joshua trees in the foreground, creosote bushes all around. My dog had left me standing in the Midnight Trail parking lot off Route 160 holding my mountain bike. I knew if I turned to the east I’d see the sun creeping over the hills, and even though I was less than hour away, there was no sign of the city. I threw my leg over the saddle and pushed down on the pedals.

This is the kind of escape that’s kept me in Nevada for more than two decades.

Las Vegas has grown to the point where every square inch of open land around it has value. What inspires me about Southern Nevada is the ordinary citizens who have dedicated themselves to preserving this land. From Tule Springs to Gold Butte to Searchlight, you find people working selflessly day after day to keep our natural treasures intact.

Coming from the East Coast, I have friends all over the country. I guess I’ve grown fond of hearing the surprise in their voice: “Las Vegas? Why do you stay there?” I stay for the austere beauty of the Mojave. Its contradictions, and contrasts. “We have skiing, about 45 minutes from our house,” I’ll say. “Of course, it’s small, but if you want deep powder, you only have to drive three hours.” To impress the real outdoorsy types, I’ll mention that world-class climbers and cyclists winter here, that the cyclist can climb 8,000 feet one day and do flats the next. Then, there’s the blank look—the one Las Vegans long ago grew used to—that says, “I thought you all lived in hotels on the strip.” They don’t know about our “5 in 5,” five national parks within a five-hour drive. When I stop to think about it, this isn’t a city to me as much as it is a base camp.

And so far, I’ve only touched on Clark County. Nevada has the largest national forest outside Alaska, and it’s the most mountainous state (thanks, Wikipedia). We may lack Utah’s color pallet, but for sheer dimension and variety, you can’t beat the Silver State. If you encounter someone who’s going on about kayaking in Puget Sound, just pause for a moment, then draw it out like an ace high: Lake Tahoe. Still, none of this trivia captures the day-to-day gratitude I feel for the nature in my backyard.

For a good 20 minutes I huffed uphill towards the mountains before gratefully turning south on a downhill stretch. I stopped at the top of a crest, where the path zigzags down Cottonwood Valley to the north. The sun was high enough to release all the colors of Red Rock Canyon. The view was a priceless offering, a strangeness of unlimited power. The dog was barking, ready to go again. I sat back down and released the breaks.

Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas, NV
Image by Rodger Podlogar © 2013

Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas, NV
Image by Rodger Podlogar © 2013

   

Autumn in Nevada: Northern Nevada

Guest Blog Series

In honor of Nevada Day, we have published a short series of guest blog posts about Nevada, with an emphasis on our state’s stunning landscapes and natural resources. These posts have been written by our friends and supporters from across the state. Inspired? Feel free to contact us with questions or a submission: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Nevada landscape.

Northern Nevada

By Kyle Davis

I was born and raised in this state, and my family has been roaming Northern Nevada since my great-grandfather worked for the USGS. I spent most of my childhood camping and enjoying outdoor activities like hiking in the Ruby Mountains, exploring the caves of Eastern and Central Nevada, waterskiing at Rye Patch Reservoir, and rock climbing at Angry Man and Pig Rock near Pyramid Lake.  More recently, I've explored mountain ranges like the Granites, Selenites and Sonomas in search of the elusive chukar partridge.

Nevadans are incredibly lucky to have so much public land to explore and we often take for granted something that many residents of other parts of the country envy. Natural resources are always a concern in our state, but we're starting to get to the point that you can actually see climate change happening. Places that I used to enjoy as a child are now very different as wildfire, invasive species and drought are taking an increasing toll on the landscape. I'm now starting to take my children to some of these places, and I worry that they won't have the same opportunity with their own children in the future.

This is why I do the work that I do, and that is why organizations like the Nevada Conservation League Education Fund are important. If our children are going to have the same opportunities and experience that we did, we've got to get serious about fixing the problems that we've created.

Nevada landscape.

   

Autumn in Nevada: The Moapa Valley

Guest Blog Series

In honor of Nevada Day, we have published a short series of guest blog posts about Nevada, with an emphasis on our state’s stunning landscapes and natural resources. These posts have been written by our friends and supporters from across the state. Inspired? Feel free to contact us with questions or a submission: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Nevada landscape near Moapa Valley.

The Moapa Valley

By Whitney Donohue

Southern Nevada is a beautiful place to live. I’ve lived many places across the United States, but I’ve called Nevada my home for more than 20 years and have no intention of leaving anytime soon. Many of the reasons I love it here have to do with Nevada itself - the climate ranges from temperate in the winter to stunningly hot in the summer (which, as long as I have access to a good air conditioner, I love). I’m currently living in Moapa Valley, which has a rich agricultural history that pleases the historical buff in me - the part that is thrilled by the fact that this area has provided food to the United States in the past. The geology in Southern Nevada is something that I’m fascinated with - this area is a rock-hunter’s dream! And of course, if you love camping, hiking, bicycling and varied other outdoor sports, Southern Nevada is a dream.

Southern Nevada is one of those magical places in which it is comfortable to be outdoors all year long. Just outside of Las Vegas are some amazingly beautiful areas in which to picnic, hike, and explore - notably Red Rock Canyon and the Valley of Fire. In both of these areas hidden gems of days of yore can be found on the red rocks - some petroglyphs so very high up on the rocks that you have to wonder if the Ancient Alien theorists could possibly be onto something. At Lake Mead you can hike a short two-mile trail and discover the remains of St. Thomas, the town at the north end of Lake Mead that was purchased by the federal government and submerged in the waters of the lake, only to be revealed as the drought continues to drain the waters of the lake.

If geology is your “thing” Nevada has some stunning examples. At the base of Frenchman Mountain (on the Las Vegas side) is a stunning example of rocks that are 1.7 million years old. Aztec sandstone in gorgeous variations from red to pink to white can be found in both Red Rock Canyon and the Valley of Fire. Fortification Hill and Lava Butte can be found near Lake Mead. They are hills formed by ancient magma that oozed out and cooled to form amazing displays of lava rock. Just take a look at the mountains surrounding the Las Vegas Valley. You can make out the different layers of sediments, see examples of the shift and pull forces that created the Horse Spring Formation.

Nevada is just such a fascinating place to live!

   

The Devil is in the Details

Guest post by Lydia Ball

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) is holding a Consumer Session on October 16th. The purpose of the Session is to take comments from ratepayers about the merger between NV Energy and MidAmerican. If you care about clean energy in Nevada, this is important, and I want you to attend.

Nevada took some giant strides towards a local clean energy economy in the 2013 Legislative Session, cleaning up the Renewable Portfolio Standard, supporting rooftop solar and moving away from coal as a resource in our state. These were amazing achievements, and they will make a huge difference to Nevadans. However, this is not the end of the story.

Read more: The Devil is in the Details

   

Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce

 

Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce recieves NCL award.

We awakened to very sad news this morning. Nevada lost one of its environmental champions with the passing of Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce. Assemblywoman Pierce was a great friend to the Nevada Conservation League and the broader environmental community. She was always proud to call herself an environmentalist and she showed it through her many years in the Nevada Assembly. Whether the issue was protecting our groundwater from contamination by landfills or fighting to protect Nevada's beautiful places like Red Rock Canyon and Lake Tahoe, we always knew we could count on Peggy to fight with us. Last spring, at the end of the 2013 legislative session, NCL had the pleasure of presenting Ms. Pierce with an award for her work. The certificate read:

In recognition of her outstanding efforts on behalf of Nevada’s environment throughout her career at the Nevada Legislature. We honor her life’s work as an advocate for our environment, truly battle born. She is a legislator whose efforts provided us all with the inspiration to work hard and to stand firm. Let it be said that on this day, Sunday, June 1st, 2013, the Nevada Conservation League paid tribute to a true champion of Nevada’s environment.

Peggy has left an indelible mark on the environmental community. We are going to miss her, her passion and her tireless work that has benefited so many Nevadans.

   

Introducing our New Executive Director

Nevada Conservation League Executive Director April MastrolucaOn behalf of the Boards of Directors of the Nevada Conservation League and the Nevada Conservation League Education Fund, we are very pleased to announce that April Mastroluca is the new executive director of both organizations.

April served two terms in the Nevada Assembly, where she received many accolades for her leadership, intelligence and professionalism. Among other honors, she was named Freshman Legislator of the Year in 2009, received a Rising Star Award from the Nevada Women’s Lobby in 2010, and was named Champion for Children by Amerigroup in 2012.  Along with her political background, April brings over ten years of professional experience with non-profit organizations such as the Red Cross and the National PTA.

Read more: Introducing our New Executive Director

   

Carpenter Fire is a Tragedy and so is Collins' Leadership

Forest fireSouthern Nevadans are following the news of Mt. Charleston's Carpenter 1 fire with concern and sadness. Many have friends and family either involved in the firefighting effort or with property in harm’s way.
As the battle continues, we should all hope for a successful outcome of these efforts rather than seek to place blame where it doesn’t belong.

Read more: Carpenter Fire is a Tragedy and so is Collins' Leadership

   

A Historic Session for Nevada's Environment

For Nevada’s environment, the 77th Session of the Nevada State Legislature, was a session of historic achievements. We saw legislators on both sides of the aisle working to protect Nevada’s air, land, and water, and to invest in a clean energy economy. We saw more bipartisan support for sensible protections, and more diversity of groups focusing on the benefits of a healthy environment. We saw Nevadans speak up in greater numbers than ever for environmental issues, and we saw lawmakers listen and reconsider decisions in response to those voices. It was also one of the first sessions where we spent more time (significantly more time) supporting environmental gains than we did defending Nevada’s environment from attempts to erode vital environmental protections.

Read more: A Historic Session for Nevada's Environment

   

Looking Toward Nevada's Clean Energy Future

Renewable EnergyIt was less than five years ago that Nevada was ground zero for the Western coal rush that was promising “clean coal” and “cheap rates”.  It was during that time that NCL, along with our partners throughout the state, were in an epic fight with our utility and merchant power companies over the development of three new coal-fired power plants that would have produced millions of tons of new greenhouse gas emissions, and effectively eliminate Nevada’s renewable energy industry.

My how times have changed.

This session, the very same utility that proposed the Ely Energy Center, and whose CEO said in February of 2009, “We believe coal is an important resource for this country” has proposed a bill that would divest Nevada from coal within the next decade. This April, Michael Yackira said, “The future of energy in the U.S. and in our state specifically does not have coal in it”—so there you have it.

Read more: Looking Toward Nevada's Clean Energy Future

   

Your Involvement is the Most Important Tool We Have

Joe JohnsonOn April 25th, the Nevada Conservation League will be honoring Joe Johnson at our Green Tie Event in Carson City.  Joe has a long history of commitment to creating change through civic engagement. He has served in the Nevada Legislature, been a member of the state environmental commission, and is currently a lobbyist for the Sierra Club.  We want to honor Joe because he has been in the forefront of some of the most important environmental legislation in this state over the last few decades.  However, we also want to honor Joe because in many ways his career exemplifies a mission that NCL shares – a dedication to effecting meaningful change on conservation issues by getting involved with the people and institutions who make laws and shape policy at the state level.

Read more: Your Involvement is the Most Important Tool We Have

   

Fracking in Nevada

Noble Energy, Inc. plans to use hydraulic fracturing to drill as many as 20 exploration wells around Tabor Flats, near the city of Wells.  “Fracking “is a highly controversial method of extracting oil and natural gas from deep in the ground.  SB390, a bill that will regulate hydraulic fracturing in Nevada, has been introduced into the Nevada Legislature.

Since fracking is new to Nevada, Dawn Harris with Frack Free Nevada has posted news, links and other resources on the Frack Free Nevada website: at https://sites.google.com/site/frackfreenevada/.

Read more: Fracking in Nevada

   

Your Toxic Crib

Last year, New York became the first state to ban chlorinated Tris, a common flame retardant, from children’s products.  A similar bill has been introduced in 25 other states across the country, and just recently, we have AB 354 introduced at the Nevada Legislature by Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz.

Read more: Your Toxic Crib

   

The Save Tahoe Bill

Zebra MusselsOn Monday, March 11th, the Save Tahoe Bill was introduced into Nevada’s State Senate.  This bill, (SB229), is the first step toward correcting one of the most potentially damaging pieces of legislation passed in recent years.

In the last few minutes of the 2011 Session, a measure passed that put in motion a timetable to strip almost all environmental protections from Lake Tahoe.  The only way to stop this from happening is through legislative action.  The Save Tahoe Bill will repeal that earlier measure, and keep Nevada committed to the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact.

Read more: The Save Tahoe Bill

   

Update on Lake Tahoe Threat

Lake Tahoe in summer.Last week, the Sierra Club and Friends of the West Shore filed a lawsuit to block the new Regional Plan of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Given our role in negotiating this plan, a lot of people have asked us for our thoughts. (Read my statement on the lawsuit itself.) Our primary concern is that proponents of SB271 will use this lawsuit as another excuse to not repeal the measure that will pull Nevada out of the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact.

Read more: Update on Lake Tahoe Threat

   

Why You Should Care About the Nevada Legislature

Nevada state capitol buildingAnyone who has spent much time in Nevada knows that we're blessed with some of the most beautiful places in the world, from Red Rock Canyon in the south, to Lake Tahoe in the north to the Ruby Mountains in the east. What some may not be aware of is the fragile balance that holds it together. Nevada is one of the most bio-diverse states in the nation, but it's also the driest. Many of the laws that govern how we protect the places that we love are dealt with at the Nevada Legislature. Do the trails at Valley of Fire State Park need repair? How do we draw new solar jobs to Las Vegas? How do we ensure angler access to the Walker River? These questions are decided in Carson City.

Read more: Why You Should Care About the Nevada Legislature

   

Page 1 of 3

Latest Blog

  1. Autumn in Nevada: The Wonders Among Us

    Tuesday, 22 October 2013
  2. Autumn in Nevada: Northern Nevada

    Tuesday, 22 October 2013
  3. Autumn in Nevada: The Moapa Valley

    Tuesday, 22 October 2013
  4. The Devil is in the Details

    Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Latest News

Nevada Conservation League Names April Mastroluca Executive Director

The Nevada Conservation League has named April Mastroluca executive director.  The former Nevada Assemblywoman will officially start with the leading statewide conservation organization August 26.“All of us...

NCL Policy Director Interviewed

Our policy director, Kyle Davis, made an appearance on To the Point with Anjeanette Damon on February 16, to discuss the recent lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club to block the new Tahoe Regional Plan. Watch...

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Nature provides a free lunch, but only if we control our appetites.

~William Ruckelshaus, Business Week, 18 June 1990