There were no bighorn sheep in attendance, but their interests were well represented at a public hearing Tuesday night on the Air Force’s plans to expand its vast training range and close off more of Desert National Wildlife Refuge north of Las Vegas.
More than 200 people turned out for the hearing at Aliante Hotel in North Las Vegas, and many expressed concern or outright opposition to the proposed expansion.
The Air Force wants to add 301,507 acres to the Nevada Test and Training Range, which already covers more than 2.9 million acres in Clark, Lincoln and Nye counties. Roughly 278,000 acres of the expansion would be carved from Desert National Wildlife Refuge, about half of which is already under military control.
During his public comment, Brett Jefferson, chairman of the Wild Sheep Foundation, noted that the wildlife refuge was founded in 1936 — before the bombing range existed — solely to protect and enhance bighorn sheep habitat. Now the Air Force wants to expand its range into “some of the most critical sheep habitat in the world,” Jefferson said.