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Popular Red Rock Canyon trail getting a makeover

Climbing up a crescendo of rocks to get to the tattered wood boardwalk at Lost Creek, Bureau of Land Management National Director Tracy Stone-Manning was unimpressed.

The short trail inside the Red Rock Canyon scenic loop was built by volunteers about 20 years ago. With $27 million committed to improving Nevada’s public lands through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, Stone-Manning said she sees a “once-in-a-generation” chance for an upgrade.

“All right, y’all,” she said, reaching a towering blue sign marking the site as an area into which the Biden administration will invest federal funds. “You see why we need a new boardwalk now?”

The BLM is responsible for overseeing the majority of Nevada’s vast public lands, which amount to more than 80 percent of the state. Converting the boardwalk to a more durable, outdoor “Trex” material will use $350,000 of the money, Stone-Manning told reporters Wednesday. Plans call for it to be completed within two years.

Jon Raby, the BLM’s Nevada state director, said the boardwalk is a necessary conservation measure, too.

“It’s keeping all of this vegetation from getting trampled and the spring from getting overwhelmed,” Raby said.

Officials said about 4 million people visit Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area every year, and more than 80 million visit the BLM’s public lands throughout the country. A chunk of the funds will hire eight to 10 recreational staff throughout the state to accommodate interest.

Another project the bureau is putting the money toward is habitat improvements for the sage grouse in Northern Nevada. A draft environmental impact statement for the agency’s sage grouse conservation plan was released last week and is currently open to public comment.

In the future, Stone-Manning said, she’s optimistic that federal administrations will continue to invest in public lands.

“I live in the West because of public lands — that story is told over and over again across the region,” she said. “I’m just thrilled that both Congress and the president see that our natural infrastructure is really valuable.”

Contact Alan Halaly at ahalaly@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlanHalaly on X.

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