Important wildlife habitat and cultural lands in southern Nevada are now permanently conserved after the Biden administration established a national monument in the area surrounding Avi Kwa Ame, or Spirit Mountain, on March 21, 2023. The region comprises Joshua tree forests and desert landscapes, ancestral lands of 12 Indigenous tribes, and diverse species of wildlife and their habitat, including migration corridors for desert bighorn sheep. It is surrounded by nine distinct wilderness areas.
BHA and a diverse community of stakeholders, including Indigenous tribes, business owners and local residents, have been united in advocating for permanent conservation measures that protect the unique cultural values and intact wildlife habitat found in this region. Many of these individuals, including BHA volunteers and staff, came together at a meeting convened by the Interior Department on Nov. 17, 2022, in Laughlin, Nevada.
In remarks made in the days following the meeting in Laughlin at the White House Tribal Nations Summit, President Joe Biden vowed to advance the long-term conservation of the region. The proclamation language being considered notes that the state of Nevada would retain wildlife management authority, including active management for water resources on which wildlife populations depend. Hunting and continued public access opportunities would be sustained, as well.
Hunters appreciate the vital role played by these Nevada lands to sustaining important populations of desert bighorn sheep and other wildlife, as well as their cultural importance to Indigenous communities. BHA is grateful to the administration for heeding the calls of local stakeholders and for recognizing the crucial linkages these lands provide – biologically, culturally, recreationally and economically – by working to ensure their permanent conservation.
BHA has consistently advocated for America’s national monuments system and the judicious use of the Antiquities Act as a way to permanently conserve important large landscapes. Key to achieving this outcome is a process that adheres to specific tenets and is locally driven, transparent, incorporates the science-based management of habitat, and upholds existing hunting and fishing opportunities.
In 2016, BHA and a consortium of outdoor groups and businesses released National Monuments: A Sportsman’s Perspective, a report about how national monument designations can sustain important fish and wildlife habitat while maintaining traditional hunting and fishing access.
Stay informed and learn how BHA will be engaging in the development of Avi Kwa Ame’s management plan. Sign up here for updates and information!