Monday, July 27, 2015 | 2 a.m.
1. Red Rock National Conservation Area
2. Basin and Range National Monument
3. Black Rock Desert National Conservation Area
4. Hoover Dam
5. Davis Dam
6. Nellis Air Force Base
7. Creech Air Force Base
8. Area 51
9. Nevada National Security Site
10. Las Vegas Paiute Reservation
11. Moapa River Reservation
12. Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation
13. Desert National Wildlife Range
14. Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
15. Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge
16. Lake Mead National Recreation Area
17. Great Basin National Park
18. Tule Springs Fossil Beds
19. Death Valley National Park
20. Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest (including Spring Mountains National Recreation Area and Mount Charleston)
If you were to amass all of the federally owned land in Nevada, the 10 smallest states in America, plus Guam, would fit inside.
Many conservative Nevadans view the federal government’s presence — it owns about 85 percent of the state — as an overreach, an argument that motivated the Sagebrush Rebellion in the 1970s and ’80s and the Cliven Bundy standoff in 2014. Liberal opponents, however, point out the federal government provides many services, such as wildfire protection, that the state couldn’t afford if it managed the land.
The debate was rekindled this month when President Barack Obama designated 700,000 acres in southeastern Nevada as the Basin and Range National Monument, fulfilling a longtime goal of ally Sen. Harry Reid. Basin and Range is the second national monument designated in Nevada in the past year, joining the Tule Springs Fossil Bed near Las Vegas.
But often lost in the debate is that multiple federal agencies own the land, and do so for different reasons. Here’s a guide to who owns what and why.
■ Bureau of Land Management
Acres owned: 47.8 million
Key sites: Red Rock National Conservation Area Basin and Range National Monument Black Rock Desert National Conservation Area
Mission: The nation’s largest landlord, the BLM oversees the vast majority of Nevada’s public land. It has the complicated mandate of balancing recreation and conservation while also allowing grazing, mining, oil and gas drilling and other development.
■ Bureau of Reclamation
Acres owned: 652,000
Key sites: Hoover Dam Davis Dam
Mission: The Bureau of Reclamation is responsible for building and maintaining dams and power plants to provide water and electricity to tens of millions of people in the West.
■ Department of Defense
Acres owned: 281,000
Key sites: Nellis Air Force Base Creech Air Force Base Area 51
Mission: The Department of Defense operates a number of military bases and test ranges in the state, mostly in Southern Nevada.
■ Department of Energy
Acres owned: 865,000
Key sites: Nevada National Security Site
Mission: The Department of Energy’s Nevada holdings are limited to a stretch of land northwest of Las Vegas formerly known as the Nevada Test Site, famous for its 928 nuclear bomb tests over 40 years and as the proposed home of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.
■ Bureau of Indian Affairs
Acres owned: 1.3 million
Key sites: Las Vegas Paiute Reservation
Moapa River Reservation Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation
Mission: The bureau primarily is responsible for managing land held in trust by the federal government for the 21 recognized tribes in Nevada. The agency also plays a role in providing social services, law enforcement and infrastructure repairs to the communities.
■ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Acres owned: 2.3 million
Key sites: Desert National Wildlife Range
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Mission: The agency’s goal is to conserve biological diversity, which it does by managing nine protected wildlife areas around the state that contain critical habitats for 37 threatened or endangered species.
■ National Park Service
Acres owned: 800,000
Key sites: Lake Mead National Recreation Area Great Basin National Park Tule Springs Fossil Beds Death Valley National Park
Mission: The agency manages national parks, national monuments and other natural or historically significant trails, lakeshores, rivers and sites.
■ U.S. Forest Service
Acres owned: 5.8 million
Key sites: Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest (including Spring Mountains National Recreation Area and Mount Charleston)
Mission: The agency oversees the country’s system of national forests. It primarily is focused on conservation and recreation in Nevada, although it manages logging on public land in other states.