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Take a walk on wild side of Nevada

Nevada Appeal Staff Reports

Nevada State Museum Curator of History Bob Nylen got a call about the free slide presentation the Department of Cultural Affairs offered Tuesday night.

“Somebody called and asked about the subject matter, ‘Wild Nevada.’ They asked, ‘What kind of wild Nevada?'”

The 85 people who showed up didn’t want a discussion of “Nevadans Gone Wild” in Stateline on New Year’s Eve. They came to learn about protecting the state’s untainted landscapes.

The presentation was by Brian Beffort, conservation director for Friends of Nevada Wilderness. He was the outdoors editor for the Reno-Gazette Journal before joining the Friends in 2001.

He started at the beginning – when Nevada was all wilderness – and moved up to modern times. His discussion, part of the Frances Humphrey monthly lecture series, was accompanied by slides of bright fall colors and impressive geology.

The woman behind me was certainly impressed. She reacted to the slides with several “oohs” and a few “ahhhs.” Beffort’s commentary affected her, too. She produced six or seven distinct “hmms” during the presentation.

Beffort, who has a master’s degree in journalism and a bachelor’s in anthropology, described Nevada as the nation’s most mountainous state, with 35 named ranges. It has the largest amount of public land in the Lower 48, yet it’s near the bottom of the list for protected wilderness. About 3 percent of Nevada (2 million acres) is protected – compared to 15 percent (14 million acres) of California. Most Western states average about 7 or 8 percent, Beffort said.

Jarbidge became the state’s first wilderness area after Congress passed the Wilderness Act in 1964. A new model of land legislation recently used to protect areas in Clark County is working well, Beffort said. The plan involves several different proposals packaged into one bill.

“They silence a lot of the extreme opposition because they have something that everybody wants,” said Beffort.

Wilderness designation, the highest level of protection possible for land, is being considered for areas in White Pine and Lincoln counties. About 85 Wilderness Study Areas are being considered by the Bureau of Land Management for designation. The closest potential wilderness to Carson City is Burbank Canyon on the southern end of the Pine Nuts.

Beffort’s presentation was filmed by Dave Morgan of community-access television to be aired on channel 10.

Coming next in the lecture series is a presentation by State Archives Manager Jeff Kintop, “Where the Heck is Mormon Station?” The Feb. 24 lecture will examine the exact location of the old Mormon Station. It starts at 7:30 p.m., and admission is free. Call 687-4810, ext. 239.

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I had walked through the slot machines, found the lunch counter, sat down, and asked for a menu before I realized I was in the wrong casino. I was under orders to get some quotes for last week’s Horseshoe Club piece, but strolled into Cactus Jack’s – unaware of the difference.

I was supposed to try the Horseshoe’s pancake breakfast special of two pancakes, two eggs and your choice of bacon or sausage for $2.50. Instead, I let waitress Paula Ventura talk me into Cactus Jack’s “Howdy” breakfast special. It has one fewer egg, but the pancakes are as big as your face, and the price is just $1.69.

Plus, when you eat at Jack’s newly refinished lunch counter, coffee, tea or soda is free. Add tax, and you’re watching an over-easy egg soak your two massive flapjacks in yolk with bacon or sausage (patty or links) and sipping bottomless coffee or Coke for $1.81. For more details, call 882-8770.

Contact Karl Horeis at khoreis@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.