Courtesy photo
Sunset over the Basin and Range National Monument.

A conservation group, comprised of a few military veterans, in conjunction with a few outdoor enthusiasts and the Nevada Conservation Corps, are working to rebuild trails and restore habitat on public lands, including the new Basin and Range Monument in Lincoln County and Nye Counties.

Working under the name “From Military Service to Green Service: Veterans Conservation Corp,” the group is working in the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area and in the Basin and Range Monument.

Now in its second year, the group is being funded by a $75,000 grant by the NV Energy Foundation and Great Basin Institute to the Conservation Lands Foundation. “It’s a small group of about five people this year,” said Public Affairs Officer Jennifer Lopez.

Terry Christopher, Associate Director of the Great Basin Institute said, “There is a crew working in the monument helping the BLM with an assortment of projects.”

He said the crew has been doing route monitoring, installation of weather stations, traffic counters, road improvements, where necessary, along with signage “and extra exploring to get an idea of how the area is being used and then planning how to make the infrastructure out there more useful.”

For those wanting to travel into the Monument, Christopher said, “The BLM website, www.blm.gov, has maps that are both printable as well as interactive maps.” It can be found under the National Conservation Lands section.

He explained there was a five-man crew that has just completed their time in the monument and will be moving on to Sloan Canyon, “however they will return to Basin and Range at times.” The whole project on both areas is expected to wrap up just before Christmas.”

He said the crew is on site 24/7 during the time they are working in the field. “At Basin and Range, because of the distance from our Las Vegas headquarters, the crew spends eight days at a time and are camping in tents the entire time.”

Not all of the crew are military veterans, but many are. He said, “Some of them are young people looking to get some experience in outdoor recreation, conservation, land management or looking for an opportunity to get out and explore a part of the world they have never seen before. The whole idea is for the crew to learn to work together as a team and accomplish the projects. A lot of crew bonding and friendships created.”