Nevada Public Lands Could Receive National Monument Designation

News for Immediate Release
Nov. 17, 2022
Contact: Katie McKalip, 406-240-9262, [email protected]

Avi Kwa Ame National Monument, spanning ancestral lands of 12 Indigenous tribes, would conserve important desert bighorn habitat; public meeting draws diverse crowd of supporters

LAUGHLIN, Nev. – Vital wildlife habitat and important cultural lands in southern Nevada would be permanently conserved if the Biden administration establishes a national monument in the region, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers stated today. Avi Kwa Ame, or Spirit Mountain, includes Joshua tree forests and desert landscapes, encompasses the ancestral lands of 12 Indigenous tribes, hosts diverse species of wildlife and their habitat, including migration corridors for desert bighorn sheep, and is surrounded by nine distinct wilderness areas.

A community meeting was convened this morning by the Interior Department near the southern boundary of the proposed 445,000-acre Avi Kwa Ame National Monument. Attendees included Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning and BLM Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Laura Daniel-Davis as well as a large and diverse group of Tribal representatives, community leaders and hunters and anglers, including BHA members, all of whom loudly advocated for the area’s long-term conservation.

“The Nevada chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is heartened by the united support shown by these diverse voices for the permanent conservation of this unique region and important wildlife habitat in southern Nevada,” said Karen Boeger, a member of the NV BHA board. “We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with other members of our community in urging the administration to act now in conserving Avi Kwa Ame for future generations to experience and enjoy.”

“The importance of these backcountry lands - biologically, culturally, recreationally and economically - can’t be overstated,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is honored to work alongside Tribal leaders and community members to underscore the broad, strong stakeholder support for this landscape’s conservation. Together we ask the administration to heed the will of the people and advance the designation of Avi Kwa Ame National Monument.”

BHA partner Nevada Wildlife Federation underscored the area's importance as habitat. 

“The Avi Kwa Ame area plays an important role in preventing Nevada's desert big game habitat from fragmentation," said Russell Kuhlman, NVWF executive director. "A national monument designation will secure safe passage of bighorn sheep, mule deer and other wildlife species. Additional protections will also guarantee that sporting organizations will have continued access to identify, build and maintain water guzzlers for game animals, which is critical for their survival. Conserving and restoring wildlife habitat in Avi Kwa Ame will benefit Nevada’s wildlife and sporting heritage for generations to come.” 

In September, Haaland and others visited the area and met with community and Tribal leaders to discuss a strategy for the region’s long-term conservation. The administration has stated its commitment to support locally led efforts to conserve important places.

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 a report on how national monument designations can sustain important fish and wildlife habitat while maintaining traditional hunting and fishing access.

Read National Monuments: A Sportsman’s Perspective. 

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