Nonprofit Spotlight: Friends of Nevada Wilderness |

Nonprofit Spotlight: Friends of Nevada Wilderness

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The Massacre Rim Wilderness Study Area in far northern Washoe County is one of the darkest places in the country. There is so little light pollution that the Milky Way and our neighboring galaxy, Andromeda, are both easily seen with the naked eye.
Photo: Kirk Peterson

This small but effective organization gives back to our community by helping to preserve those unspoiled landscapes that make northwest Nevada such a special place.

The wide-open spaces of Nevada are what draw so many businesses and families to our great state and keep us here. Outdoor recreation on Nevada’s public lands has become a major contributor to the state’s economy, creating 87,000 direct jobs, generating $4 billion in wages and salaries and raising more than $1 billion in state and local tax revenue. (Source: Outdoor Industry Association)

More and more, local residents and visitors alike are seeking out these special places for their physical and mental well-being. On the most protected public lands that exhibit wilderness qualities that Friends of Nevada Wilderness strives so hard to preserve, outdoor enthusiasts are able to hike, camp, fish, hunt, ride horseback, cross-country ski, and more.

But whether we receive enjoyment of these public lands by getting out in the midst of them, or by just looking out through a window or windshield from far away, we know these places have a positive effect on us. We are able to take a breath and gain perspective, knowing our fast-paced daily lives are somehow balanced by the natural beauty we see.

There’s risk, though, in taking that balance for granted. It takes a concerted effort to keep these special places “wild,” as they say at Friends of Nevada Wilderness. What we don’t see when we look out at the landscape are the complicated public and private relationships that determine the fate of these wilderness quality areas. Sometimes there is harmony and sometimes there is discord. Regardless, Friends is always there to speak on behalf of the plant life, the wildlife, the air and the water and the solitude, so as to maintain that important balance.

In northwest Nevada alone, there are more than 60 areas of public lands with designations giving them special protected or potential protected status. They include well-known popular areas like the Black Rock Desert Wilderness, the largest Wilderness Area in Nevada; the iconic Mt. Rose Wilderness Area; and the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge.

But other areas are no less special just because they’re lesser known. Some are gently rolling hills, some change in elevation by thousands of feet. Some are desert and some are snow-capped mountains. Some are relatively easy to access and some are not. They are all home to an abundance of wildlife and native plant life. And they are all owned by the American people and managed by one of four federal agencies, the Federal Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Park Service.

Friends works with every one of the management agencies to help maintain and improve public access to these special places. Their Stewardship Program every year contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars of in-kind services, rebuilding damaged trails, removing fencing and debris harmful to wildlife, cleaning up campsites, and marking critical wilderness boundaries. This stewardship is possible because of the small army of dedicated volunteers who love their public lands and are committed to giving back, and financial contributors, large and small, who support the organization.

So whether you appreciate our area’s natural bounty from afar or from within, Friends of Nevada Wilderness is worthy of your support. There are several ways to give it:

Volunteer for a stewardship project – it will be a unique experience that might teach you a thing or two about yourself.

Make a financial contribution of any size – Friends relies on the generosity of individuals, businesses and foundations to do its great work.

Advocate on behalf of public lands – Somewhere, someone or something is threatening one of more of these special places. Whether it’s an elected official or body that wants to allow drilling, mining, construction, military bombing practice or other intensive uses; loss of habitat to climate change and wildfire; or lack of federal resources for proper management, these special places need you to speak out on their behalf.

Please visit or call 775-324-7667 for more information.

Sage Interiors sponsors this content.