Department Of Defense Land Withdrawal

The Off-Road community was ‘rejoicing’ in June when the Senate Arms Forces Committee had not included the Department of Defense Fallon NAS/ Nellis AFB training area expansion. There are a few reasons cited for the opposition including the Nellis range impacting the desert tortoise/big horn sheep, and the Fallon range impacting private land owners, businesses, and tribal heritage sites. This is an example where the dedicated environmental groups are allied with the Off-Road community to achieve the same goal. To oppose the removal of land from the public inventory.

SSORA from inception remains a nonpartisan organization. While Land use issues often follow political ideologies. This is not necessarily the case with Nellis/Fallon expansion. Diverse groups representing every level along the political spectrum rallied in opposition to these expansions, including SSORA. We embrace many of the concerns cited, specifically around the damage to the wildlife and their habitat. However, the focus surrounding SSORA’s opposition remains protecting access to all of Nevada’s unrestricted Public Lands for Off-Road recreation. No access means: no riding, no hiking, no pedaling, no hunting, and no fishing.

Throughout Nevada the tribal and local governments have been resistant to the expansions. At the State level, opposition, and or alternatives were submitted as Nevada’s Consolidated Response developed with input from state agencies, the Lovelock Paiute Tribe, the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada, Churchill County, Eureka County and Nye County. Yet, this input was largely ignored. Nevada’s members of congress mostly have worked to prevent the expansion as presented. Yet there have been some attempts to offer different legislation that would accomplish the same result – land withdrawal from the public inventory, and restrictions to your access to your Public Lands.
In SSORA’s Social media posts we cautioned against claiming victory, as the process for the passing of the “National Defense Authorization Act” (NDAA) still needed input from the House of Representatives.
And as luck would have it, Utah Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah’s 1st congressional district jumped into the fray offering an amendment to the House’s version of the NDAA, to allow for the Nellis expansion.
Yes — you read that correctly —
A congressman from Utah, has changed the language and it has been approved by the House to remove more of Nevada’s Public Lands from public inventory. The lands transfer for NAS Fallon remains off the table, for this year, but the Nellis expansion is back on, and has a direct impact to not only motorized & mechanized Off-Road areas, it also takes a large swath of land from the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.
Nevada’s Congressional delegation: Steven Horsford, Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Mark Amodei, were not consulted in the Utah Congressman’s idea to change Nevada’s Public Land access.

Perhaps our congressional delegation should make an amendment to use Utah’s 1st congressional district as a new Air Force bombing range.

As often is the case the positive values and actions moved forward by the motorized Off-Road community are not seen as impactful on large issues like this DOD expansion/land grab, this is the result of decades of a non-unified Off-Road community. It is this oversight that SSORA works to correct.
SSORA is continuing to monitor this situation and will do our best to keep the friends off SSORA updated.

Air Force Times

Executive Summary


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