By VERNON ROBISON
Moapa Valley Progress
Nearly 40 volunteers from all around southern Nevada spent the day on Saturday, Sept. 30, in the Gold Butte National Monument painting kiosks, repairing fences, installing road signs and picking up trash.
The stewardship event was held in recognition of National Public Lands Day, a national, single-day volunteer effort that connects people to public lands in their community.
The Friends of Gold Butte organization partnered with the Friends of Nevada Wilderness and the Southern Nevada District office of the Bureau of Land Management to coordinate six stewardship projects which were completed that day.
The volunteers came from all over, according to Friends of Gold Butte Executive Director, Jaina Moan. About a dozen were from the Mesquite area. Many more came from Las Vegas. Some came from St. George. And one volunteer came from as far as Pahrump.
“It was a great turnout and we were able to get a lot done,” Moan said.
“We had several new volunteers who had never been to Gold Butte join our project,” said Grace Larsen, Stewardship Coordinator with Friends of Nevada Wilderness. “What a great way to experience our newest National Monument.”
Volunteers gathered at around 8 am and divided up into five different groups. Each group then carried out a different project.
The first group spent the day cleaning up and painting a number of kiosks at various places in the monument. These included kiosks at the entry to the Gold Butte Scenic Byway, the Virgin River overlook, Fisherman’s Cove Road and at Whitney Pockets.
A second group devoted its time to installing road signs. Some of the signs provided safety information. Others notified visitors to be watchful of Desert Tortoise in the area and on the roads.
The third team travelled to the Red Bluff Spring where a fence intended to protect the spring had been washed out in recent flooding in the area. The team replaced the fence.
Another similar fence at Red Rock Spring was replaced by the fourth volunteer team.
The fifth team spent the day working on naturalizing an area where the road had been closed. They rearranged the landscape to make it appear in a more natural state so that future motorists would not try to travel down the closed road in the future. They also installed signs which correctly directed visitors to the designated route through the area.
The BLM provided supplies, equipment and logistical support. “We appreciate the spirit of volunteerism that we felt here today” said Lee Kirk, acting Monument Manager for the Bureau of Land Management.
It was a long day of work for the volunteers as temperatures reached into the low 90s that day. Most groups worked through the day, not finishing up until around 4:00 pm.
“Public Lands Day is a way to give back to the land that we all collectively own,” said Moan. “The work that we did in Gold Butte will help to preserve the natural environment in the Monument and at the same time ensure that people stay safe while traveling on designated roads.”