October 6, 2016

Nevada: Department of Defense Proposes Expansion of Test Range into Desert National Wildlife Refuge

On August 25, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) published a Notice of Intent to the public in preparation for a Legislative Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed expansion of the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. The proposed expansion would transfer 301,057 acres of public land to the Department of Defense, in addition to the existing 2.9 million acres of land under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Air Force currently used for training purposes in the NTTR.

The training area currently overlaps with the Desert National Wildlife Refuge (DNWR), which is home to some of the most productive desert bighorn sheep habitat in Nevada, including five highly sought-after Nevada Hunting Units. Over half the area of the DNWR is designated as part of the NTTR. The current USAF proposal would expand the training area to approximately 75% of the entire Refuge and would restrict access to the public including  hunting, angling, hiking, camping, and other forms of outdoor recreation.

Several sportsmen’s groups have expressed concern at the potential loss of access to prime hunting territory for the Silver State’s sportsmen and women.

The USAF is planning the following public scoping meetings, all of which will be held from 5:00-9:00 PM:

·         Wednesday, October 12, 2016: Beatty Community Center, 100 A Avenue, Beatty, NV 89003

·         Thursday, October 13, 2016: Tonopah Convention Center, 301 Brougher Avenue, Tonopah, NV 89049

·         Tuesday, October 18, 2016: Caliente Elementary School, 289 Lincoln Street, Caliente, NV 89008

·         Wednesday, October 19, 2016: Pahranagat Valley High School, 151 S. Main Street, Alamo, NV 89001

·         Thursday, October 20, 2016: Aliante Hotel, 7300 Aliante Parkway, North Las Vegas, NV 89084 

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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