In reading “Gold Butte boundary may be adjusted” according to a statement by Senator Heller, I very much question whether President Trump has the authority to change monument boundaries, and furthermore, why anyone would even want to do so. The recommended changes according to Mr. Heller, would be “minor,” but would address access to springs used by the VVWD in the Virgin Mountains. Many compromises concerning the boundary of Gold Butte have already been made during the many years of the designation process, for example more than 50,000 acres of the ACEC were left out of the monument. The boundaries were drawn to reflect concerns and considerations of all local stakeholders, including the Water District.

This area is historically extremely valuable. It is a key to the way of life of early Nuwuvi (tribal) people and all of it was once included in the Moapa River Indian Reservation. Agave roasting pits and other cultural remnants are plentiful; it is also habitat for the Mojave Desert tortoise, a significant (and very much endangered!) species. Further, the area contains objects from early pioneer life, including mines, homesteads, and dams that were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

Gold Butte National Monument, as it is presently defined, meets the criteria for protected status according to the Antiquities Act. Let us keep the present boundaries and all enjoy this monument together.

Klaus Schmitt

Friends of Gold Butte