Letter: Nevadans get limited access
The issue regarding protection of the Black Rock Desert as a National Conservation Area has lately received quite a bit of attention. One widely voiced concern of those in opposition to this proposal is that protection of the Black Rock Desert and its surrounding wilderness-quality areas will somehow limit their “access” to these environs — as if, upon granting of National Conservation Area status, a sign will be erected at the foot of the playa reading:
NATIVE NEVADANS AND OPERATORS OF FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE, VEHICLES NOT PERMITTED BEYOND THIS POINT. (California tourists: Come on in.)
Protection of the Black Rock Desert as a National Conservation Area is designed to preserve the pristine qualities of this landscape for everyone. By its very nature, protection of this area guarantees a sustained level of open public access. Only those seeking to significantly alter the pristine, panoramic qualities of this austere environment will be asked to take their enterprises elsewhere.
Opponents of the Black Rock NCA speak of their “need” to have access to this region. Given the beautifully barren and featureless terrain that characterizes the Black Rock, it’s difficult to imagine how any of the compromised needs (keep in mind that such activities as hunting, driving, and ranching will still be permitted in the NCA proposal) could be greater than the need to protect this very unique and pristine part of Nevada’s heritage.
Despite a large public outcry against it, another bit of Nevada’s heritage was recently reduced to rubble. Are we about to let another crucial piece of our history slip slowly away from us when we have within our reach the means to preserve and protect it?