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LETTER: Desert National Wildlife Refuge must be protected

Updated July 15, 2020 - 9:52 pm

I am disheartened by the amendment offered by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, to give away the entire joint use area of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge (850,000 acres) to the U.S. Air Force.

I have ridden my mountain bike through the refuge on a dirt road dotted with Joshua trees. Seeing the vast landscape and hearing nothing but the sound of my bike tires on the rutted dirt road, I felt truly alive. I experienced only a small portion of this expansive refuge. It provides essential habitat for desert bighorn sheep, desert tortoises and a variety of birds, lizards and much more. It is a sacred place for Native Americans. This landscape made me feel humble in the presence of something much greater than my own short existence on this planet.

This amendment threatens the habitat of fragile wildlife and is an affront to our national heritage. This refuge belongs to all of us, our children, grandchildren and to those who come after. It should be cherished, not bombed.

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