Venomous Lizard and Public Lands Access
News article HERE
Repatriating a venomous lizard to grounds where it no longer inhabits presents an interesting thought experiment. Repatriating is an argument advocates use broadly, as is the case with the wild or feral horses of the west. Those with an interest in that history understand those horses have a direct linage to those brought to the Americas beginning in 1520. Yet fossil evidence exists dated to the Pliocene era ( 5.3m to 2.5m BCE) showing the forerunner of the horse was evolving in the Americas. Humans have unintentionally reintroduced a native species.
The Gila Monster, that venomous lizard, returning to areas where it once roamed is in line with a reintroduction/repatriating philosophy. A philosophy that is best discussed amongst the subject matter specialists and obviously outside the bounds of the Nevada Offroad Association. Yet it does raise the question of what introducing a “Near Threatened” species to your Public Lands does to your ability to access those lands.
Continuing with the thought experiment. If 100 Gila Monsters are reintroduced into the southern Nevada desert, along with that work comes an entire set of prohibitions and regulations that will directly affect all offroad recreation.
It is reasonable to assume, that for the animals to adapt and begin a sustainable reproductive population, we must accept limits to accessing your Public Lands. That limited access would need to be practiced by all offroad disciplines, gone are the trail running athletes, motorcycle single tracks, fat-tire bikers, UTV riders, 4X4 offroaders, overlanders, and the visitors to the Silver State’s many historic mining sites. To restrict one form of recreation while allowing others to continue needs to include empirical data on what one form is allowed over another.
Of course, this is a generalization not all of Nevada will lock down access. However it is important that should this bill make it into law, any work is met with robust participation by all interests to ensure the success of the program includes positive land stewardship without adding the additional burden on everyone who enjoys access to our Public Lands.