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BLM, Sierra Club aim to help veterans by easing public land access


The federal Bureau of Land Management oversees around two-thirds of the public land in Nevada.

A recent memorandum of understanding signed by officials with the BLM and the Sierra Club looks to ensure that many of those 48 million acres, including more than 3 million acres in Southern Nevada, are open to veteran and active duty armed services members at Creech and Nellis Air Force Bases.

The memorandum, signed in late July, will help both organizations “work more effectively on programs, training, and recreational activities for veterans and military families,” according to a joint release issued July 30.

“For those brave men and women returning from military service to our country, BLM-managed public lands provide not only opportunities for recreating in the great outdoors but also venues for enhancing personal well-being while connecting more closely with some of the land they fought to protect,” said BLM Acting Deputy Director Steve Ellis in a statement on the BLM’s website.

The agreement helps both the BLM and the Sierra Club sponsor projects — from military family outings to Veterans Day essay and photo contests — aimed at encouraging a veteran presence in Nevada’s outdoors.

Such outreach programs also are aimed at strengthening relations between those public agencies and the military community, according to Sierra Club Military and Community Outdoor Recreation Organizer Joshua Brandon.

Sierra Club officials claim the group’s Mission Outdoors program has helped more than 50,000 service members, veterans and family members enjoy the outdoors to help ease the stress of service over the past several years.

“It’s essential that we give back to our nation’s heroes who protected our country in uniform,” Brandon said. “The Sierra Club is well versed in the healing powers of time spent in the outdoors, and our growing partnership with the Bureau of Land Management ensures greater access for veterans and their families to explore and enjoy the public lands they risked their lives protecting.”

Representatives of the BLM’s Southern Nevada District Office deferred requests for comment to the Interior Department in Washigton, D.C.-Area Sierra Club chapter, where officials could not be reached for comment.

For more information on joint initiatives sponsored by the two agencies, visit www.blm.gov.

Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter James DeHaven at jdehaven@viewnews.com or 702-477-3839.

 

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