Washoe County Lands Bill – Properly called the Washoe County Economic Development and Conservation Act – Washoe County, in cooperation with the Friends of Nevada Wilderness (FNW) are preparing a bill request whereby certain public lands would be withdrawn for various purposes.
On January 19 th , N4WDA sent letters to Senator Heller and Congressman Amodei urging them to remove the unwritten rule (from Senator Reid) that ALL public land transfers contain a Wilderness Component and to work for the release of all Wilderness Study Areas (WSA’s) which were supposed to be examined by Congress and either made into Wilderness or released as unsuitable for Wilderness and have not been acted upon for up to 53 years.
We received a letter back from the Jeremy Harrell in Senator Heller’s office stating that they are in complete agreement with the items we asked for and that they have been working on the WSA release. Jeremy also stated that he would like to meet with me on Wilderness matters when he is back in the area.
On January 30 th , the Public Land Access Network – High Desert Coalition (PLAN-HDC), an organization that N4WDA has been actively working with, sent a letter to the Washoe County Supervisors (5) and the County Commissioner advising them of problems with the following items in the Wilderness component of the proposed bill:
The Wilderness component, as attached to the bill, cannot be found on the Washoe County website along with the Urban Interface component of the proposed bill (you must go to the Friends of Nevada Wilderness website and then find their “Wild Nevada” page to find maps of the Wilderness component).
The proposed Wilderness component runs afoul of the Wilderness Act of 1964 in that it modifies the boundaries of existing Wilderness Study Areas and adds lands that were not studied to these WSA’s to create the Wilderness areas in the component.
There was never a stakeholders meeting to get proper public comment on the proposed withdrawal of public lands as required by the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).
There is a conflict created with the Sage Grouse critical habitat restoration being done by the BLM because of the restrictions on motorized vehicle use within a Wilderness area. Also, there are those who currently hold grazing permits in these areas and need the use of motorized or mechanized transportation to develop and maintain water sources not only for their animals, but also for other wild animals.
Now for the good news: Commissioner Jeanne Herman has told us that as of the last meeting, the Washoe County Commission has decided to drop the Wilderness component from the Lands Bill so that it can move forward and be introduced in by Senator Heller and/or Congressman Amodei in the next few days. It is now time for us to shift our focus from Wilderness to the Urban Interface component of the Lands Bill, working through Senator Heller and Congressman Amodei.
February 18 th , Four Wheel Parts has asked us to support their Grand Re-opening of the Sparks store, so, weather permitting, N4WDA and some of our member clubs will be on hand to talk with folks and, perhaps get a few new members. If you have the time, please drop by and check out the remodel of the store and, by all means, come and see us at the N4WDA booth.
March 11 th , Four Wheel Parts is holding their annual Madness in March event and they have asked us to have our membership booth at the event. We will be there, weather permitting…
March 17 th through 19 th , the Off-Road Expo at the Reno/Sparks Convention Center. We will have vehicles on display and our membership booth will be present so stop by and say HI! to those of us that will be working in the booth. Also, on Saturday afternoon, we will hold an Open Meeting where our members and the general public can be updated on what we are doing and interact with the Board of Directors.
May 6 th , Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful annual cleanup
April 22 nd , 3 rd Annual N4WDA Swap Meet – location to be determined.
May 20 th & 21 st , Pine Nuts Mountains Trails Association annual clean-ups
September 16 th , 2 nd Annual N4WDA Silver State Poker Run – Dayton Area – Details to come.