The journey to achieve protection started with the administrative designation of Gold Butte as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern by the Bureau of Land Management in 1998, recognizing the nationally significant historic, cultural, wildlife and scenic values of the area. All grazing rights were removed.
In 2002, Gold Butte received two designated Wilderness areas – Jumbo Springs and Lime Canyon. Wilderness was a great step but did not address management issues, like preventing the accelerated destruction of important biological and cultural resources, in the 350,000 acres that make up Gold Butte.
In early 2003, Friends of Gold Butte was formed to bring together advocates who were fighting for the area’s permanent protection.
The legislative history for protecting Gold Butte dates back to 2008 when Nevada representatives including Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (H.R. 7132). In 2013, Congressman Steven Horsford (H.R. 2276), Congresswoman Titus (H.R. 856), and Senator Harry Reid (S. 1054 & 199) launched bills to permanently protect Gold Butte.
In February of 2015 a public meeting was held to talk about Southern Nevada public lands issues and Congresswoman Titus stood for hours listening to more than 300 constituents talk about their support for protecting Gold Butte.
In July 2015, hundreds of Nevadans joined with elected officials and national business leaders for a public rally at Zappos.com in downtown Las Vegas in support of protecting Gold Butte as a national monument. Speakers included Assemblyman Elliot Anderson, Las Vegas City Councilman Ricki Barlow, North Las Vegas City Councilman Isaac Barron, Brad Tomm from Zappos and Kirsten Blackburn from KEEN.
In the November of 2015, Congresswoman Titus hosted a tele-town hall where hundreds of community members listened to the result of and asked question about the Applied Analysis’ research, illustrating the economic benefits to Southern Nevada if Gold Butte was permanently protected.
Senator Reid in 2016 cited a strong desire to protect Gold Butte during the last year of his term and has been advocating with the administration to get this done via the Antiquities Act. This point was accentuated by a passionate floor speech delivered on April 7th highlighting recent damage at Gold Butte and the need for executive action and his August 18th press conference.