Saturday, April 27, 2013 | 2 a.m.
A recent news story about a possible bill in Congress to designate Gold Butte as a National Conservation Area suggested that there was a lack of local support for the idea. But the truth is that the people of Mesquite and Clark County overwhelmingly support protection for what the Bureau of Land Management refers to as one of its crown jewels. It’s just some politicians who are being unnecessarily hesitant about it.
The Mesquite Chamber of Commerce has supported protection for Gold Butte, and the Mesquite City Council has voted three times in support of NCA designation for the area. The county commission has passed a similar resolution.
A public opinion survey of Clark County residents released a year ago showed only 20 percent opposition to an NCA designation for Gold Butte. Even among Republicans, opposition was less than 30 percent, and off-road enthusiasts supported designation by more than 3 to 1.
They understand that instead of closing roads, which many opponents fear might happen, NCA status would ensure that none of the more than 500 miles of designated roads and ATV trails could be closed arbitrarily.
The will of the people is strong and clear. The time for NCA designation for Gold Butte is now.