Las Vegas Sun

November 29, 2015

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Blue Diamond Hill worth protecting

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I was pleased to see that the Clark County Commission passed a resolution supporting efforts for Gypsum Resources LLC, owned by developer Jim Rhodes, to exchange land on Blue Diamond Hill with the Bureau of Land Management for land elsewhere that has been identified as disposable. This resolution opens the door for discussion. It’s a small first step but an important beginning to what just might lead to resolving a decade-long controversial issue.

Blue Diamond Hill is neither suitable nor practical for residential development. Blue Diamond Hill’s best use is to become part of the Red Rock National Conservation Area. Although extensively mined, the land contains sensitive plants on undisturbed portions and provides a habitat for native wildlife and the protected feral burros. In addition, the BLM could expand opportunities for hiking, horse bridal paths, picnic facilities and perhaps a second scenic drive, relieving some of the crowding already experienced in Red Rock, especially on weekends and holidays.

Caution must be exercised in an exchange, however. The BLM lands earmarked for disposal should not have sensitive resources that would be compromised, and any agreement should make sure Rhodes completes required reclamation on Blue Diamond Hill.

We should support this proposal but monitor the process to ensure that any lands exchanged are not compromised, that the public interests are well served and that eventually all of Blue Diamond Hill would be protected and become a part of the Red Rock National Conservation area.

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