Outdoors lovers pack Nevada Legislature room to support Public Lands Day proposal

CARSON CITY — Lovers of Nevada’s great outdoors and seemingly endless room to roam turned out Monday to support a bill declaring the last Saturday in September as Public Lands Day.

Sponsored by Sen. Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas, Senate Bill 413 seeks to recognize the diverse landscape that makes up public lands in Nevada with an annual proclamation from the governor touting the beauty and economic bounty public lands bring to the state.

Backers said celebrating Nevada’s public lands would spur volunteerism, community outreach and educational opportunities to share Nevada’s vast landscape — from deserts and wetlands to mountains and ancient bristlecone pines.

David Bobzien, with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, said Nevada outdoor recreation in 2012 generated roughly $15 million in consumer spending; 148,000 direct Nevada jobs and $1 billion in state and local taxes.

Bobzien, a Reno city councilman and former state assemblyman, said passage of the bill “is Nevada’s way of honoring the importance of public lands, and the partnerships vital to their stewardship, now, and for years to come.”

The bill “also firmly rejects” any suggestion the federal government should transfer public lands to the state or local control.

More than 80 percent of Nevada is controlled by the federal government, with most of the acreage managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Nevada would become the second state behind Colorado to designate a state Public Lands Day. The state recognition would coincide with National Public Lands Day, created in 1994.

The Senate Committee on Government Affairs did not vote on the bill Monday.

Contact Sandra Chereb at schereb@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3821. Follow @SandraChereb on Twitter.

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