The announcement of the sale and redevelopment of Bonnie Springs Ranch within the Red Rock National Conservation Area is sad. The developer says there will be a 25-room motel, restaurant, 5,400 square-foot event arena and 20 homes. The Old West, quiet nature of Bonnie Springs will be lost.
Increased visitation, encroaching urban development, increased vehicular traffic and increasing light pollution are diminishing the visitor experience. Red Rock seems to be dying by a multitude of cuts.
Years ago, I worked to establish the Red Rock National Conservation Area and the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act. The act established a build-out boundary for our metropolitan area to protect areas such as Red Rock. Most importantly, however, the act allowed proceeds from the sale of federal lands within that boundary to be used to buy private, environmentally-sensitive lands — such as Blue Diamond Ridge and Bonnie Springs — from willing sellers. Unfortunately, there have been too many instances where these sensitive lands have not been purchased. Instead, millions of dollars from the sale of excess BLM lands have been used for other purposes.
Knowing this, I have to ask why the BLM was not a buyer of Bonnie Springs Ranch. And why will we have additional development threatening the character and environment of our beloved Red Rock National Conservation Area?