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County Public Lands Policy To Be Discussed

Please read this entire message as there is an important opportunity on Monday, December 3rd, for the public to address the Lyon County Board of Commissioners (BOC) regarding wilderness areas in Lyon County.

Since our last eAlert the BOC met on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 and they are proposing that two elements of the current Public Lands Policy be rescinded.  First, rescind the "No additional Wilderness Areas shall be designated in Lyon County" language and second, rescind all "penalty" statements (related to violations of the Public Lands Policy).  The BOC will decided the fate of this proposed action at their December 6, 2012 meeting (agenda not yet published).  Obviously, passage of this proposal will mean the BOC would be released from past decisions and commitments to "no wilderness" as contained in County Code Title 10 Chapter 13 and past resolutions.


Also since our last eAlert, Nevada Copper Corp. contracted Resource Concepts Inc. (RCI) to prepare "An Evaluation of Natural Resources, Unique Values, Land Uses and Stakeholder Input for the South Pine Grove Hills, Bald Mountain and East Walker River Area" (the 36-mb download of this report is located on the Lyon County website).  We support conservation and preservation actions when an objective evaluation of the conditions on the ground warrant such protective actions - even to the extent that areas would become protected by such an extreme measure as a wilderness designation.  We believe the evaluation performed by RCI is fairly objective and quite extensive as to the range of considerations evaluated.  RCI's evaluation leaves no doubt that the 80,000-plus acres that Senator Reid has announced as the "Wovoka Wilderness" is not justified!

From a science-based perspective we believe there is no justification for a "Wovoka Wilderness"!  While there are areas of legitimate resource concern there are alternative protective methods that the USFS could deploy that are not as oppressive as a wilderness designation.  Unfortunately the wilderness requirement is a politically motivated position by Senator Reid.  The City of Yerington and Nevada Copper are largely financially motivated and the wilderness requirement, while each says it doesn't like it, appears to be a price they are willing to pay.  So science is really not in play here and the decision makers are mostly operating from a political and financial perspective.  Regardless of how this plays out this could change what defines us as a community.  Until now the residents of Lyon County have vigorously defended our cultural values, historic uses of public lands and the independence that defines our rural lifestyle.  We are at a crossroad, we can either continue to defend what defines us or change who we are; that is, we can become willing to trade the things we hold important for the promise of financial reward.  We (CPA) are not going to make a judgment as to what is the right path to take but we are asking everyone to make that decision for yourself and make that position known to our local elected officials.

The BOC has scheduled an opportunity for the public to comment on whether the BOC should grant itself relief from prior "no wilderness" commitments.  This meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 3, 2012, 5:30 PM (Agenda) in the Commissioner's Meeting Room, Lyon County Administrative Complex, 27 S. Main St., Yerington.

PLEASE have a voice in this critical issue.  If you are unable to attend the meeting on Monday you can express your opinions or concerns to the Lyon County Board of County Commissioners.

Thank you,

Board of Directors, Coalition for Public Access

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