President Joe Biden is set to designate Nevada’s Spirit Mountain a national monument, granting the area permanent protection and marking a major victory for conservationists.
The move – slated to be announced on Tuesday – will make Spirit Mountain the first national monument established under the Biden administration. It will also be the first to be created in Nevada since 2000.
The designation will safeguard the mountain, which has long been a site of spiritual and cultural significance to the Southern Paiute tribe, from development.
“The Spirit Mountain holds special meaning to the Southern Paiute people, and I am proud to protect this sacred site,” said Biden.
Spirit Mountain is found in the basin of the Muddy River and is considered a sacred site to the Southern Paiute tribe, whose ancestral homelands are in the surrounding area.
The area has long been subject to development proposals, including a plan to build a casino and resort complex and a coal-fired power plant, both of which have now been abandoned.
The national monument designation will protect the mountain from future development and preserve its cultural and spiritual importance. It will also protect the area’s wildlife and habitats, including the threatened Mojave desert tortoise.
The designation comes as a result of years of effort by the Southern Paiute tribe, conservationists and other advocates to protect the mountain.
“This is a historic moment for the Southern Paiute people and conservationists alike,” said Biden. “By permanently protecting Spirit Mountain, we are taking a critical step forward in preserving the cultural, spiritual and environmental significance of this sacred site.”
Under the Antiquities Act of 1906, the president is able to designate public lands as monuments without congressional approval. President Biden is expected to take full advantage of this authority during his term in order to protect and conserve public lands.