September 6, 2016 - Issue: Vol. 162, No. 133 — Daily Edition114th Congress (2015 - 2016) - 2nd Session
RECOGNIZING THE WORK OF THREE NEVADA CONSERVATION CHAMPIONS; Congressional Record Vol. 162, No. 133
(Senate - September 06, 2016)
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[Pages S5240-S5241] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] RECOGNIZING THE WORK OF THREE NEVADA CONSERVATION CHAMPIONS Mr. REID. Mr. President, today I wish to honor Terri Robertson, Helen Mortenson, and Marge Sill, three lifelong conservation activists from Nevada. 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. ____________________