From the other side... (of Nevada)
By Roberta Moore, May 1, 2014 at 11:30 AM
My husband David and I live in the heart of the Great Basin on the easternmost edge of Nevada. We live on the morning side of the mountain in the foothills of the Snake Range, in a pinyon-juniper woodland, hemmed by sagebrush steppe. It seems, at first glance, to be a vast and seemingly empty landscape, filled with the repetition of basin, range, basin range, but the shaping of the land and its people reveal so much more.
We live 382 miles east of Reno, 280 some miles northeast of Las Vegas, and about 250 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. Some people have labeled this place “a blank spot on the map”, but on most nights, this seemingly empty place is covered by a star glazed sky, and has been recognized as one of the darkest, if not the darkest places in the lower 48 states. By day, the Snake Range rises up out the scrub desert, climbing through sagebrush steppe, the pinyon juniper woodland, a mixed conifer forest, and even higher into the subalpine and alpine habitats. There is so much here; vast panoramas, a phenomenal geologic history; an open book filled with pages teeming with cultural and natural history.
We love this place and together, we strive to do everything we can to protect it and preserve it. Both my husband and I retired from the National Park Service, but in my retirement I have chosen to volunteer for the U.S. Forest Service at the the Desert Experimental Range Station, one of eight in the United States. Granted DERS is just across the state line in Utah, but it is still in the hydrographic Great Basin and it is an incredible example of our landscape. Comprised of 87 square miles, it is geographically and floristically representative of salt-desert shrub and shrub grass ecosystems found in the cold deserts of the Great Basin. Stan Kitchen, my boss, is a modern day Aldo Leopold type, single-handedly managing the station, researching historical and current disturbance processes and their effects on the composition, structure and stability of shrublands, woodlands, and forests of the intermountain west. Working for Stan offers me the opportunity to learn so much more on the ground, lessons and insights textbooks don’t offer, and my work deepens my commitment to conservation and the land.
There is so much we can all do. We can be advocates for the land, our natural and cultural histories, and the environment. Each of us can make a personal commitment to our children and the future, learning all we can and taking a personal stand, speaking out for the land and wild places.
I could ramble on and on, but instead, I’d like to close this with a quote from one of my personal heroes, conservationist and naturalist Aldo Leopold.
“Be that as it may, I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in. Of what avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?”
Think about it…
Until the next time!Add Pingback