Our Stories › Voices

Gold Butte: Our Natural Heritage

Former BLM employee Hillerie Patton describes this Nevada landscape as the essence of “This Land is Our Land”—and how preserving wildlife, archaeological sites, and recreation is about quality of life.

The following is a transcript of the video.

Hillerie Patton, former employee of the Bureau of Land Management, North Las Vegas, Nevada: I never thought of myself as an outdoorsy person. I don't even like to get dirty.

But I love to go to Gold Butte. I love taking that drive out there. I love being there. I love everything about it. You'll see all these different shapes, but the best thing is when you look over, and you're actually seeing the blue of Lake Mead, and you combine that with the reds and the yellows.

What's special for me about Gold Butte is how I feel when I'm there. Whether I'm hiking or whether I'm just sitting out in a chair looking at the stars, I just always feel amazing when I go there. It's just a beautiful place just to relax.

For decades, you had a lot of people who felt like they could do whatever they wanted at Gold Butte. People were going out there. They were destroying the plants. They were destroying the animal habitat. They were destroying the rock art. They were dumping trash.

The protections are in place to make sure that these things don't continue to happen.

What the monument designation that came in late December of 2016 did was give it a little bit extra protection, which protected the majority of the area instead of just smaller portions.

The people who feel the most threatened by the designation feel that, in some type of way, there's some money that is being missed by having these designations in place.

What we want them to understand, it's about quality of life.

There's bird-watching. There's stargazing if you go at night. There's a lot of great areas where you can camp and hike. People do go out there, and they four-wheel and they dirt bike. There's many hundreds of miles of designated roads and trails that people can stay on.

When I was a kid in the first grade growing up in Kansas, we learned "This Land Is Your Land," and I always remembered that song. When I go out on the public lands, I always think of that song, and whether you're in Maine or Michigan or New Mexico or Nevada, all of this belongs to all of us, and so I think it's important that all of us take an active interest in making sure that these areas are here for all of us to enjoy.

Tell Interior Secretary Zinke to stop the assault on our national monuments

Voices

As America’s national monuments come under attack by President Trump, Los Angeleno Robert Garcia shares the story of his personal connection to San Gabriel.

Voices

As our national monuments come under attack by Trump, park conservationist Audrey Peterman reminds us that protecting our monuments is also about protecting the legacy of America’s people.

Voices

For archaeologist Angel Peña, this national monument is more than just home to cultural and geological artifacts—it’s where memories and history are made.

Victory

After years of work by NRDC and its partners, about 5,000 square miles of ocean—with massive canyons, majestic underwater mountains, and more than 1,000 species—have received permanent protection.

onEarth Story

The latest executive order takes aim at iconic public places that store carbon, protect ecosystems, and keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Western Dispatch

State lawmakers commit to a sustainable course with an ambitious new energy efficiency bill.

onEarth Story

As the interior secretary ponders the fates of 27 national monuments, he seems to be hearing some voices more acutely than others.

Western Dispatch

Solar and wind power are booming in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. Here are some secrets to their success.

onEarth Story

Why are there so many names for legally protected waterways? And what do they all mean?

Policy Primer

This month’s National Park Service centennial presents an opportunity to create a parks system that is reflective of—and accessible to—all Americans.

Victory

Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah will protect some of America’s most striking landscape—and its earliest history.

Policy Primer

If we don’t address these increasingly severe threats, America’s most treasured lands might soon be unrecognizable.

Voices

The Trump administration’s review of national monuments threatens America’s culture and natural beauty.

Join Us