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Biden plans to designate next US national monument in southern Nevada

Avi Kwa Ame national monument
On Nov. 30, 2022 President Joe Biden told attendees at the White House Tribal Nations Summit that he planned to designate the 450,000-acre Avi Kwa Ame area in southern Nevada as a national monument.

President Joe Biden plans to designate the nation’s newest national monument in southern Nevada. The 450,000-acre expanse is sacred to at least a dozen tribes.

The Avi Kwa Ame National Monument would include Spirit Mountain and the surrounding Mohave Desert landscape 80 miles south of Las Vegas.

It’s considered the origin point for the Hualapai, Havasupai, Maricopa and several other tribes. Indigenous leaders and environmental groups say the designation will connect several other biologically diverse protected areas and provide vital habitat and migration corridors for bighorn sheep, desert tortoise and other species.

The new monument would span an area in the southern tip of Nevada between Arizona and the Colorado River to the California Mohave National Preserve.

Biden made the announcement at Wednesday’s White House Tribal Nations Summit. The designation hasn’t been made final, but tribes, conservationists and others applauded the announcement.

The Antiquities Act gives presidents the power to enact broad protections on public lands. Biden last year restored the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in southern Utah after they were slashed by the Trump administration in 2017.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom as executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.