Session Hosted by Senator Reid and Congresswoman Titus to Focus on Next Steps for New Addition to National Park System, Conservation Priorities for the 114th Congress
LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Today, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael L. Connor visited the recently-designated Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, the newest addition to the National Park Service. The visit builds on the Department's work to support locally-driven efforts to preserve and protect places that hold special meaning to communities across the country.
"Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument is a worthy addition to our National Park System with its rich history and remarkable access for the two million people of the Las Vegas metropolitan area," said Connor. "A broad group of community members stepped forward to support the legislation to make this a national park, and we are committed to continuing that collaboration as we take care of this exceptional area.”
Spanning 22,650 acres of the Upper Las Vegas Wash, Tule Springs is regarded by scientists as one of the best collections of Pleistocene mammal fossils in the United States. Researchers count among their discoveries Columbian mammoths, dire wolves, saber-tooth cats, prehistoric camels and giant sloths. The National Monument lies just minutes from the community of North Las Vegas and only 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, providing a boost to the tourism and outdoor recreation industries of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Area.
The Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument was created through Title 30 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in December of 2014. Originally sponsored by Senator Reid, Congresswoman Titus and the rest of the Nevada delegation, the legislation was supported by the cities of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, Clark County, the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, local and national conservation partners, as well as thousands of individual Nevadans.
The legislation provided for management of the area by the National Park Service. Staff from Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the closest National Park Service area to Tule Springs, have been administering the land transfer from the Bureau of Land Management. Lake Mead employees have been meeting with community leaders and supporters, establishing a volunteer cadre, and analyzing existing conditions in order to welcome visitors while preserving the park's unique resources.
Later today, at the invitation of Senator Harry Reid and Congresswoman Dina Titus, Connor is also joining a public meeting to hear from the Las Vegas community on next steps for the monument, as well as other conservation priorities for southern Nevada for the 114th Congress.
Senator Reid and Congresswoman Titus have invited the public to comment on their conservation proposals for the 114th Congress, including the Garden Valley Withdrawal Act and the Gold Butte National Conservation Area Act, two bills introduced by Senator Reid and Congresswoman Titus at the start of this session.
"I want to thank Congresswoman Dina Titus for co-hosting this event with me and to Mike Connor from the Department of Interior for being here to listen to Nevadans on these important issues. Some of my proudest accomplishments in the Senate have been working to protect the special places in our state for future generations. The goal for today's meeting is to talk a little bit about conservation in Southern Nevada and hear from the public their thoughts on these issues and I appreciate every Nevadan who will attend."
"We welcome more than 42 million visitors from around the world to Southern Nevada every year, and many of those travelers come to see the sights beyond the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip,” said Congresswoman Dina Titus. “Today's public hearing is a chance for the community to convene and discuss the future of some of Nevada's most sensitive habitats and scenic landscapes. Together we can find the best ways to preserve public space and cultural resources for generations to come.”