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Titus unveils bill to establish monument

A proposed national monument backed by Boulder City officials is one step closer to happening thanks to action by U.S. Rep. Dina Titus.

Recently, Titus filed a bill to establish the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument that would safeguard 450,000 acres of land near Laughlin and Searchlight. The parcel also borders Boulder City.

“Boulder City sees many benefits to designating this land as a national monument, and we truly appreciate the support this effort has received from Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Rep. Dina Titus,” said Taylour Tedder, city manager. “This effort will protect species of plants and wildlife, while preserving an area of cultural significance to our Native American communities. Now is the time to act — to ensure future generations can appreciate Avi Kwa Ami as it has been cherished for hundreds of years.”

The monument would provide greater protection of biologically diverse and culturally significant lands by protecting an ecosystem in part of the eastern Mojave Desert and connecting Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada to the Mojave National Preserve, Castle Mountains National Monument, Mojave Trails National Monument and Dead Mountain Wilderness Area in California.

Additionally, it would create a habitat to promote the survival, growth, reproduction and maintenance of different types of desert plants.

Titus rolled out her legislation Feb. 17 after filing it in the House of Representatives. She also has enlisted the support of the Biden administration and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

The Avi Kwa Ame, Titus said, “features scenic peaks and canyons, natural springs, Joshua tree forests, bighorn migration routes, unique grasslands and a rich history of petroglyphs and other ancient cultural sites.”

In March 2021 City Council approved a resolution supporting the monument.

Councilman James Howard Adams said he believed the project supports “Boulder City’s long-standing ideals of preserving the surrounding desert landscape and protecting it from wanton development.”

“The boundaries provided by the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument would protect far more than just its pristine landscape,” he said. “It would serve as a refuge for the incredible flora and fauna found in the region and help preserve the numerous important cultural artifacts and elements, many of which are considered to be profoundly sacred.”

Avi Kwa Ame means Spirit Mountain in Mojave, and the area is considered sacred by the Yuman speaking tribes that include the Mojave, Hualapai, Yavapai, Havasupai, Quechan, Maricopa, Pai Pai, Halchidhoma, Cocopah and Kumeyaay.

Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Gary Martin contributed to this report.

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

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