A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS: Salazar Highlights Two Proposed Projects in Nevada to Promote Outdoor Recreation, Conservation
Projects Will Be Part of 50-State Report
WASHINGTON — Just days before the release of a 50-state report outlining some of the country's most promising ways to reconnect Americans to the natural world, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today highlighted two projects in the state of Nevada that will be included in the final report — representing what states believe are among the best investments in the nation to support a healthy, active population, conserve wildlife and working lands, and create travel, tourism and outdoor-recreation jobs across the country.
The renovation of Lorenzi Park in Las Vegas and expansion of recreational opportunities on the Colorado River in Clark County are among 100 projects nationwide that will be highlighted in next week's report — two in every state — as part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to establish a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda and reconnect Americans to the outdoors.
The report is a result of 50 meetings with governors and stakeholders held by Salazar and other senior Interior officials to solicit ideas on how to best implement AGO in their states. These projects were identified for their potential to conserve important lands and build recreation opportunities and economic growth for the surrounding communities as part of close engagement with Gov. Brian Sandoval and the state of Nevada, as well as private landowners, local- and tribal-elected officials, community organizations and outdoor-recreation and conservation stakeholders. The full 50-state report will be released in the coming weeks.
“Under the America's Great Outdoors Initiative, we are listening to the people of Nevada and communities across America and working with them on locally-based projects that will conserve the beauty and health of our land and water and open up more opportunities for people to enjoy them,” Salazar said. “My staff and I have been asking each governor for the most promising projects to support in their states, and we will do all we can to help move them forward.”
The two projects in Nevada highlighted by Salazar in the forthcoming report are:
Lorenzi Park Renovation
Lorenzi Park was built in 1921 in central Las Vegas, making it one of the oldest parks in the city. Its 90 acres provide close-to-home recreational opportunities to thousands of residents in the Las Vegas area, and the park has received support from the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act. With a walking path, playgrounds, basketball courts, picnic facilities, and even dog runs, the park is an important center for outdoor recreation in the community.
The Sammy Davis Jr. Festival Plaza on the park's western side is as an important community gathering area that hosts social and cultural events such as the Las Vegas Blues Festival, comedy shows, and a Filipino-heritage celebration.
Some park renovation has occurred since 2007, but more funds are needed to restore the lake shoreline, complete landscaping, and upgrade other park amenities. When completed, the park will again be a major magnet in Las Vegas for families to enjoy the outdoors.
Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park and Trails
In 2000, the Bureau of Reclamation identified project lands in the Laughlin, Nev., and Bullhead City, Ariz., areas compatible for recreation use. Clark County, Bureau of Reclamation, and the National Park Service developed a proposal to restore the riverfront and plant native vegetation from the toe of Davis Dam to the town of Laughlin.
As part of a larger effort, Reclamation cooperatively developed a plan for a loop trail from Davis Dam to the Mojave River Indian Reservation and returning to Davis Dam on the Arizona side of the river. The project's first phase will be completed in February 2012.
The project includes building 5.25 miles of trails, day-use areas, picnic sites, shade shelters, fishing piers, equestrian facilities, and a highway bridge overpass and underpass, and providing access to the Colorado River. The first phase of construction, totaling $23,819,480, was funded by the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act, along with $2 million more from Clark County.
Clark County, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the National Park Service will work to complete part of the trails system to finish a seven-mile loop and short interpretive trail. Both trails, part of the original concept for the entire regional park, will require more funding and matching in-kind support to be completed. This collaborative work will use agency staff and Youth Conservation Corps crews to meet trail- and project-construction goals.
The report will also include potential actions by Interior and its bureaus to support the projects identified. At Lorenzi Park, for example, the department could provide additional SNPLMA funding to Las Vegas to complete phase II of the project. In Clark County, the Department could provide financial support to hire a YCC crew to work on trails, and the National Park Service could provide assistance in eradicating invasive species.
The Department of the Interior will work with each of its key bureaus — including the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — to direct available resources and personnel to make these projects a reality.
“The America's Great Outdoors Initiative turns the conventional wisdom about the federal government's role in conservation on its head,” Salazar said. “Rather than dictate policies or conservation strategies from Washington, it supports grassroots, locally driven initiatives.”
For more information on the President's America's Great Outdoors initiative, click here.
To view a map of the projects already announced, click here.