It’s Time to Protect Gold Butte

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That was an excellent article (“Whitney Pocket perfect for an adventure” by Tom Garrison) about Gold Butte in Dec. 4th issue of the Mesquite Local News. It wonderfully illustrated both the potential economic benefits of making Gold Butte a more well known tourist destination and the need for greater protection.

The picture of the CCC wall painfully illustrates the protection issue. The wall was originally all the way across the opening with a doorway in the middle. The left half of the wall has been torn down in the past.

Also there is a large, circular shaped petroglyph high on the rocks at Whitney Pockets. Some people have chosen to use it as a bulls-eye target and put over 30 bullet holes in it.

Regular visitors can see the ongoing degradation that is occurring in Gold Butte. Some of it is thru ignorant misuse; some of it is deliberate vandalism.

Friends of Gold Butte has always in the past advocated for National Conservation Area status for the area as our preferred way to protect the region. This was partly so that keeping the road system intact could be specified in the legislation and partly so that the various areas of currently road less, de facto wilderness could be designated as legal Wilderness.

The change in Congress with the recent election has made congressional action seem very unlikely in the upcoming term so we are considering turning our attention to seeking National Monument designation instead.  Some of out fellow conservation groups are already doing this.

But whatever designation we are advocating for, we will always support continued and even improved access to Gold Butte, development of facilities, such as toilets, improved road signage and a multi-agency visitor center in Mesquite. We would also like to see some hiking trails developed to complement the more than 500 miles of roads and ATV trails.

With either form of designation, Gold Butte could become a stronger economic engine for our region. It is well past time for our local leaders to get on board and strongly support the benefits of designation and protection for Gold Butte.

Anthony Barron
President – Friends of Gold Butte

 

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