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Protecting our national treasures

Your recent coverage helped shine some light on the damage being done in Gold Butte (“Ceremony marks pioneer’s return to Gold Butte grave,” March 28). An even brighter spotlight would illuminate many more examples of incontinent destruction of this beautiful area’s cultural, historic and ecological treasures.

Native American petroglyphs riddled with bullet holes. The senseless chopping down of a defenseless, mature Joshua Tree. Vandalism to nearly 100-year-old horse corrals, relics of the area’s pioneer ranching days. These are just a few examples of what is happening in Gold Butte, and the damage is difficult or impossible to reverse. The impact is significant.

But there is another important reason to protect Gold Butte, and it comes down to good old-fashioned economics. The fact is, when our special public lands are preserved and protected, visitorship rises and the surrounding communities benefit financially as a result.

As you noted in your pages last week, a recent study shows that for Nevada’s Basin &Range and nine other national monuments designated by President Obama, “the annual economic benefits … include $58 million in labor income per year and roughly 1,820 jobs.” (“Reid praises study on economic impact of new national monuments,” April 6).

For Mesquite, the closest town to Gold Butte, national monument status means visitors will come to take in Gold Butte — and spend money at restaurants, gas stations, motels and other local businesses before they leave.

Gold Butte is already public land that belongs to you, me, all Nevadans and, indeed, all Americans. But if it is to retain its tremendous biological, historic, recreation and economic benefits, the time to protect Gold Butte as a national monument is now.

Michelle Napoli

Las Vegas

Government intrusion

Everyone is worried about who will end up elected president of the United States later his year. But the biggest worry, in my opinion, should be: Will the person who ends up in the big seat stop the trend toward collectivism in our country?

Every day it’s something. Let’s list just a few:

Parenting, as described in the Review-Journal’s April 9 editorial “More victims of the Nanny State,” and what the kids should eat at school. Buyers of Tesla vehicles and other electric cars given subsidies. Banks and financial companies again being forced to provide mortgages to people who can’t afford them. Sound familiar?

Now, some state attorneys general are eyeing big businesses for their views on climate change — and if they aren’t of the same opinion as the government, they stand to be investigated and sued.

Then there’s the medical industry — including insurance firms, doctors, pharma, makers of medical devices and hospitals — which is inundated with new regulations every week.

And you and I are put under the microscope, with the government looking at our sex lives, when we should have a mammogram and what we should eat.

There are many more infringements, but I now understand why people are not optimistic about our future.

Sonya Healy

Las Vegas

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