(Senate - September 06, 2016)

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[Pages S5240-S5241]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. REID. Mr. President, today I wish to honor Terri Robertson, Helen 
Mortenson, and Marge Sill, three lifelong conservation activists from 
  Terri Robertson has been a longtime advocate for the protection of 
southern Nevada's unique outdoor spaces. This fourth-generation Nevadan 
embarked on her mission to protect Nevada lands over 40 years ago, 
beginning with her work to protect Red Rock Canyon from encroachment 
from nearby Las Vegas. Terri was also instrumental in the designation 
of Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area. I know of her outsized 
influence because I led the effort in the Senate to establish Red Rock 
Canyon and Sloan Canyon National Conservation Areas. Even today, Terri 
continues to push for additional protections and amenities for Sloan, 
where she visited ancient petroglyph galleries on family trips as a 
child. It is because of the work of people like Terri that the Bureau 
of Land Management recently unveiled a plan to add a visitor center, 
information kiosks, and paved roads to provide access to the canyon. In 
May 2016, the BLM and city of Henderson celebrated the opening of the 
first paved access road to Sloan. Terri has also used her passion and 
knowledge of Nevada's natural resources to protect other special places 
in Clark County, including Tule Springs and Gold Butte.
  Marge Sill has been a wilderness advocate in Nevada and California 
for 50 years. After she moved to Reno, she began working to protect 
wilderness land in northern and central Nevada as urban development 
began to encroach upon those wild spaces. Marge has been working to 
protect the stark and stunning vistas of the West for so long that she 
has earned the nickname ``Mother of Wilderness.'' Marge got her start 
in the Sierra Club a half century ago. To describe that time, she once 
remarked that the women of the club did the work, while the men just 
talked about change. Marge put in the work to create the Lake Tahoe 
State Park in 1963, and she fought to establish the Great Basin 
National Park, Nevada's only national park. However, Marge considers 
her greatest accomplishment to be the passage of the Nevada Wilderness 
Protection Act of 1989, which designated over 700,000 acres of 
wilderness in the Silver State. I was pleased to author this 
legislation, which created several wilderness areas that Nevadans now 
treasure, including the Mount Charleston, Mount Rose, and the Ruby 
Mountains Wilderness Areas, among others, and expanded Nevada's first 
wilderness area, Jarbidge. Marge has always been my most avid 
supporter, for which I will always be grateful.
  Finally, I would like to recognize Helen Mortenson. Together with her 
late husband, Harry, Helen advocated for the preservation and 
protection of Nevada's outdoors for decades. A consultant specializing 
in nuclear, radiological, and environmental issues, Helen fought for 
years with her husband, Harry, a conservation champion in the Nevada 
State Assembly, to keep Nevada's environment safe and clean by opposing 
the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository. But Helen's greatest work 
has no doubt been her advocacy for the protection of Tule Springs in 
northern Las Vegas. Thanks to Helen and Harry's activism, I was able to 
work with my colleagues in Congress to pass legislation in 2014 that 
designated the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument. As president

[[Page S5241]]

of the Las Vegas Ice Age Park Foundation and an archaeologist herself, 
Helen used her knowledge to educate her community and local lawmakers 
about the significance of the Tule Springs site. Because of her, fossil 
sites of prehistoric mammoths and giant sloths will always remain only 
a short drive away for residents of the Las Vegas Valley.
  These three champions of conservation taught us all about the need to 
protect and treasure Nevada's wild places. Their passion, advocacy, and 
community-building facilitated the passage of legislation that will 
keep the wild Nevada I love intact and accessible for generations. 
Their work is appreciated, and I wish them continued success for years 
to come.