This is a late follow up to the recent Sloan Canyon Implementation Plan. SNMBA represented the mountain bike community during the BLM’s December 4th meeting to discuss the future of Sloan Canyon. Many different groups were present - Hiking, nature, running, etc. The main focus of this meeting was to discuss the options for trailheads, parking, buildings, etc, and to state what funds they have available for this project. The major sticking point is the petroglyphs in Sloan Canyon and how to protect them, but also allow them to be accessible. Due to the sensitive nature of this area and the presence of ancient petroglyphs, we as mountain bikers don’t venture there much or at all, but we need access to the adjoining area called Athem East which is part of Sloan Canyon NCA. For those who don’t know what NCA is, it is per blm.gov: “…designated lands are designated by Congress to conserve, protect, enhance, and manage public lands for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau of Land Management’s National Conservation Lands include 16 NCAs and five similarly designated lands in ten states.” Nevada has three; two are in your back yard – literally. Sloan Canyon is a very unique place as it is home to over 1,700 petroglyphs and I understand why they want to protect it. As much I dislike someone tagging the walls that border my development, these can be painted over, but seeing the same thing to a 700 year-old message is disturbing. Keeping Sloan protected is important, but allowing access to non-vital areas is important as well.
Cycling, hiking and equestrian(ing?) is already happening in some areas of Red Rock NCA, and is alive and well with management of those trails keeping things in order and environmentally friendly. Rouge trail building in Red Rock NCA is non-existent and the trail networks there are plentiful meeting everyone’s standards, therefore the system works in Red Rock. The question remains, why can’t Sloan Canyon be as accessible to mountain bikers as Red Rock Canyon? By comparison, RR NCA is 195,000 acres, and Sloan is 48,000. We are not allowed to bike within the boundary of the Scenic Loop and the park itself, but in the outer southern limits such as Cottonwood or northern limits on Kyle Canyon Road. This would apply to the boundary of the petroglyph area which would be strictly off-limits. Allowing mountain bikers access to more acreage of land within the Sloan NCA and away from critical habitat or sensitive history will create a better relationship with the land managers and cyclists as proper user-designed trails can be developed within a prescribed area, limiting illegal trails. With the implementation of proper trailheads and accessible areas for hikers and mountain bikers, the BLM can develop a proper system for users on the southeast part of the greater Las Vegas Valley (Henderson) and mimic the success of Red Rock NCA. BLM needs partners in the community to support their plan, and we mountain bikers – SNMBA’ers – can be that support and key to building a better system within Sloan Canyon.
A link is posted below for you to make a comment on this project. Take the time and voice your concern about the protection of the petroglyphs but also the need for trail access within the less sensitive areas of Sloan Canyon. Thank you and we hope to hear from you soon! - Erik Montville, President