March 14, 2017; Las Vegas Sun
As we all obsess about what is going on nationally, local campaigns are not to be ignored and they too take enormous amounts of vigilance and energy to resolve in favor of communities. In some cases those types of fights extend over years, and that is true here as Daniel Rothberg of the Las Vegas Sun reports:
The story begins almost 250 million years ago, with the ocean and geology and gypsum. It starts with the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area under an ancient sea, at a time when what is now Utah marked the continent’s coastal boundary.
Movements in Earth’s crust eventually pushed the land up, and when water dried in pocketed lakebeds, it left salt and sometimes gypsum.
Millions of years later, humans found the soft sulfate useful to make wallboard, plaster of paris and classroom chalk, and it is still excavated down the road from Red Rock, following a history of mining activity in the region. But opportunities for commercial activity have diminished since the 1960s, when Congress began withdrawing land for public use to protect an area that drew hikers, bikers and climbers to its rust-toned Calico Hills.
Much of that protected landscape became the Red Rock Canyon NCA. About 2 million people visit each year, according to the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the public resource. Its most prominent sight might be the escarpment, an orange face of Aztec sandstone with bands of peach and reddish-brown. The layers are an inverted geologic map of Nevada, the result of a thrust fault that pushed older rocks — some from the ancient ocean — above the more recently formed strata of rusted red.
So is it any wonder that local nonprofit Save Red Rock is not going to let development happen near Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada without a fight? But those fights can take the form of a lot of small battles that require time, resources, legal counsel and,