This oil-and-gas-above-all approach detracts from the true value of these public lands for recreation and tourism. The state of Nevada is experiencing one of the highest numbers of these low- and no- potential public lands lease sales. In response to the most recent Bureau of Land Management lease sale in Nevada on Dec. 17, which put over 268,000 acres of public land in Nevada at risk, Maite Arce, president and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation released the following statement:
“By leasing our nation’s cherished public lands that provide much more value to taxpayers and local economies through recreation and tourism, we are diminishing the value of these lands for our communities and future generations.
“Latinos have enjoyed recreating and continuing family and cultural traditions such as fishing and hunting on America’s public lands for generations. As we become a higher percentage of America’s population, especially in states like Nevada, we must also work harder to protect these treasured places for all Americans.
“Without protecting these lands from being leased for single-digit dollar amounts, Americans are left with fewer places to continue to build memories with their families and communities. Generational and cultural traditions are practiced and passed down on these public lands and to lease them at such an insignificant amount would make passing down our American way of life to our children and grandchildren so much more difficult.
“It is our responsibility to protect these places from irresponsible leasing. As we head into 2020, let’s make sure that our treasured public lands are valued for what they are worth and kept in public hands for the benefit of local economies and public uses like recreation. We must protect these places to preserve our shared American history, culture, the wildlife that depends on these places, and the ecosystems that sustain our way of life for the sake of all Americans and future generations.
The Bureau of Land Management has already scheduled lease sales in 2020, demonstrating that there is no end in sight. Latinos across the country are speaking up to make sure our public land agencies understand the importance of these public lands to local communities and economies, cultural practices and traditions, and for the sake of future generations.
Watch the Latino community reflect and explain the importance of public lands to their communities on our Protect Our Lands Video Series.