On March 15, GBWN Board Member Delaine Spilsbury and Chairman Rupert Steele continued on a journey to do what was once thought impossible. They addressed lawmakers about the need to protect a sacred area in Spring Valley known as the Swamp Cedars and asked the Legislature to pass two bills: AB171 and AJR4.
AB171 gives the Rocky Mountain Juniper stands on BLM land in Spring Valley the safeguards currently afforded to “Protected Species” in the state. This would require a permit for anyone looking to remove one or more of the Swamp Cedars, trees with immense spiritual and cultural significance for Indigenous peoples in the Great Basin.
AJR4 requests the Nevada Congressional Delegation or the Biden Administration to apply stronger land designations to the areas where the Swamp Cedars exist.
Both measures are championed by Assemblyman Howard Watts, a GBWN alumnus who has experienced all that Spring Valley has to offer and learned about the fragile relationship between water and the Swamp Cedars.
The shallow groundwater table in that part of Spring Valley has always been of concern. We hope that this bill leads to everlasting protections for the trees, the valley and the customs of Native people.