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Designation would have ‘monument’al benefits

Nevada’s lieutenant governor sees the proposed Avi Kwa Ame National Monument as a great opportunity for Boulder City as well as the state.

“I think it’s a tremendous opportunity for visitors. … I think it’s a great opportunity for economic development,” said Nevada Lt. Gov. Lisa Cano Burkhead in an interview with the Boulder City Review.

Avi Kwa Ame means Spirit Mountain in Mojave, and the proposed national monument encompasses approximately 450,000 acres of public land in southern Clark County. It borders Boulder City and has peaks, canyons, natural springs, Joshua tree forests, bighorn sheep migration routes, unique grasslands and petroglyphs.

“Just being able to see the largest Joshua tree in Nevada was incredible,” said Burkhead after a recent visit to the area.

The proposed national monument has the support of local leaders and, in addition to protecting part of the Mojave Desert, it would connect Lake Mead National Recreation Area to the Mojave National Preserve, Castle Mountains National Monument, Mojave Trails National Monument and Dead Mountain Wilderness Area in California.

“Boulder City will serve as a gateway for all these areas to explore,” said Burkhead.

She also said there will be more “potential for small businesses to pop up” and more “development and growth” for current ones as well as partnership opportunities for outdoor recreation through the recently created Nevada Agreement for Recreation Shared Stewardship.

The stewardship is a strategic partnership to allow for multiple agencies to collaborate, address the challenges facing Nevada’s communities and natural environment, and advancing outdoor recreation opportunities.

“Just having shared agreements on any level is really smart. … I definitely think that we’re moving in the right direction and have the right people at the table,” she said.

Boulder City also holds a special place in Burkhead’s heart because she taught for several years in the 1990s at the high school at the beginning of her teaching career.

“It’s one of my two favorite places in Nevada,” she added.

In February, U.S. Rep. Dina Titus filed legislation to designate the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument.

Her bill was then referred to the House Natural Resources Committee and analysis will be conducted by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to determine the cost to establish the national monument.

On March 23, City Council unanimously approved a resolution expressing its support for the national monument.

The Nevada Agreement for Recreation Shared Stewardship includes signatories from the state of Nevada, Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation, Nevada Division of State Parks, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Nevada Department of Transportation, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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