Secretary Jewell Joins Nevadans to Celebrate Designation of Basin and Range National Monument

Designation preserves stunning landscapes, ancient rock art; protects existing ranching, military and recreation uses​

Last edited 09/29/2021

Date: October 17, 2015
Contacts: Jessica Kershaw (Interior),
Stephen Clutter (BLM), (775) 861-6629

SOUTHERN NEVADA – As part of President Obama’s commitment to protect the nation’s significant outdoor spaces for the benefit of future generations, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Director of the Bureau of Land Management Neil Kornze joined U.S. Senator Harry Reid and U.S. Rep. Dina Titus (NV-1) to celebrate the recent designation of Basin and Range National Monument in southeastern Nevada. The site, an unbroken expanse of 704,000 acres of rugged mountains and sweeping valleys, highlights the proud history of the West, from its earliest native peoples to more recent settlers and mining communities.

“This spectacular expanse of rugged public lands helps tell the story of Nevada, its people, its rich history and the stunning, open landscapes for which the state is known,” said Secretary Jewell. “By protecting this area, the President has ensured that one of the most treasured landscapes of the American West will be available for all future generations to discover and explore.” 

“The Basin and Range National Monument is the perfect example of the West’s rugged, stark beauty. It is the same land where ancient people took shelter and carved their history into incredible rock panels that can still be seen today. It is still the land of desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, elk and pronghorn antelope. This area is truly a time capsule of our western history, from Native Americans and early explorers, to the mining and ranching that still exists today. And with President Obama’s designation of this area as a national monument, the land will remain that way,” Senator Reid said. “Thanks to President Obama, future generations will be able to enjoy the beauty of this Nevada landscape for many years to come. I cannot express how grateful I am to President Obama and Secretary Jewell for their incredible efforts in making this monument a reality. I look forward to continuing our work together and helping to preserve even more of our country’s beautiful landscapes.” 

On July 10, President Obama designated the Basin and Range area as a national monument. This followed efforts by Sen. Reid and Rep. Dina Titus to pass legislation through Congress that would have protected the area. It is now one of the three newest national monuments, including Berryessa Snow Mountain in California and Waco Mammoth in Texas. The President’s designation protects outstanding recreational opportunities like hiking, hunting, horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing and rock climbing.

“Reflecting the best in public space and public art, the Basin and Range National Monument will preserve and protect the unique natural, cultural, and historical resources of central Nevada for generations to come,” Rep. Titus said.

Nevada businesses, including MGM Resorts International, the state’s largest employer; Wynn Resorts, Barrick Gold Corporation, and Rockwood Lithium North America, as well as the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, have also supported protection of the area. Additional support also came from a broad array of community groups, including private landowners, elected officials, art institutions, conservation and recreation organizations, and representatives from businesses in the state.

From the earliest human inhabitants 13,000 years ago to the miners and ranchers of the past century, the monument’s cultural sites offer exemplary opportunities to further study and understand this unique landscape and its history.

The area’s location, on the transition between the Mojave Desert and the sage brush steppe of the Great Basin region, makes it home to a wide diversity of plants and wildlife, including desert bighorn sheep, golden eagles, and a host of bat, lizard, and snake species.

The Basin and Range National Monument is located in Lincoln and Nye counties about two hours from downtown Las Vegas. It preserves current uses of the land, including traditional ranching practices and ongoing military training operations, while ensuring that the land remains unspoiled for future generations. It also contains a wealth of scientifically significant geological, ecological, cultural, and historical resources – including Native American rock art dating back 4,000 years – and is an important area for studies of paleoecology, seismology, archaeology, and paleoclimatology.

In addition, the landscape sculpture City by artist Michael Heizer is situated on private land within the monument. Comparable in size to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the work explores contemporary and ancient American influences in the context of the stark and open landscape. Protection of the work and its surroundings has been supported by major American art institutions such as the Nevada Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.  

Comprised of existing federal lands, the monument will continue to be managed by Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Basin and Range is the newest addition to the National Conservation Lands, a special system of protected areas managed by the BLM that contains some of the West’s most spectacular and unique landscapes, including Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area outside Las Vegas.

“Important uses like ranching, hiking and riding will all continue to be welcome in the Basin and Range National Monument,” said BLM Director Neil Kornze. “We are committed to working with the people of Lincoln, Nye and White Pine counties to ensure that this protected area continues to serve the needs of those communities.” 

The BLM will prepare a management plan for the monument in formal cooperation with the State of Nevada, local governments, and tribes. The plan will be developed in an open process with maximum public involvement.

Also participating in the event were Jenna Morton, a member of the board of the Las Vegas Springs Preserve; Erin Wright, director of artist initiatives, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and Brian O’Donnell, executive director of the Conservation Lands Foundation.

For more information on the Basin and Range National Monument, including maps and unique visitor experiences, go to

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