President Joe Biden has designated Avi Kwa Ame, known by some as Spirit Mountain, a national monument. The designation preserves about half a million acres in Southern Nevada that is considered to be sacred by a dozen native tribes.
Will Pregman, Communications Director for the group Battle Born Progress, was in Washington D.C. on Tuesday for the announcement – and he said groups have been working towards the federal protections for years.
Pregman said those who have been advocating for the protection of Avi Kwa Ame are overjoyed that President Biden made the monument a priority.
“This is a huge gesture in a symbolic sense,” said Pregman, “but it is also materially very important for the president’s goal. Obviously he set forth his 30 by 30 plan – protect 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.”
Pregman said much of the credit for the designation is thanks to the hard work of various native tribes as well as groups and multiple Nevada lawmakers who helped push the issue forward.
Pregman said in addition to helping the president reach his 30 by 30 campaign goal, he added that the designation which protects a vast desert landscape, including habitat and migration corridors for many animal species as well as cultural and historical sites, will truly send a strong message.
Pregman added that he believes the monument will also come with a significant promise of new outdoor recreation jobs and opportunities, bolstering local economies, and attracting outdoor tourism to Nevada from locals and tourists.
“All that kind of stuff is incredibly significant,” said Pregman. “And it’s going to, I think, further the president’s goal and I think hopefully serve as sort of a template for him continuing to do these types of things in other states as well.”
Biden used his authority under the Antiquities Act to grant the permanent protection for Avi Kwa Ame. Pregman said that means no construction or development projects can take place on the protected land.
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This story was written by Alex Gonzalez, producer at Public News Service, where this story first appeared.