Searchlight Residents Rally For Avi Kwa Ame’s National Monument Designation to Stop Industrial Development

A June 3 community meeting comes as Headwaters Economics releases data on land designation’s economic impact.

Searchlight residents are fighting to protect their community’s viewshed and access to outdoor recreation and finally put to rest the area’s repeated threats of industrial development. As of a May 27 community meeting, more than 30 percent of Searchlight residents have supported a national monument designation for Avi Kwa Ame. Searchlight is a gateway community for the proposed national monument. Another community meeting takes place Thursday, June 3, from noon to 4 p.m. at 12 to 4 p.m. at the Searchlight Community Center.

Kim Garrison Means is a college instructor whose grandparents established a ranch on the outskirts of Searchlight in the early 1960s. She currently lives on that ranch and wants to find a permanent solution to conserve Searchlight’s amenities. For her, a national monument designation is also critical because it will help the area to evolve in a way that’s authentic to its nature.

“The monument designation will offer Searchlight gentle economic growth and influence —growth of existing businesses, a gentle influx of new people who are attracted to living here. It wouldn’t be a dramatic change,” she says.

Researchers at Headwaters Economics agree, touting that national monument designations are good for local economies, stimulating the growth of jobs and businesses while also reducing the number of business closures for rural gateway communities.

Last week, Headwaters Economics reported on new research that summarizes recent studies on the role of national monument designation on local economies. The report examines a half-dozen recent peer-reviewed studies that evaluate the local economic impact of designating a national monument.

The research concludes that, in many cases, a national monument designation can improve local economies. (The report is here.)

 “Too few places exist that haven’t been industrialized,” says Judy Bundorf, a 60-year resident of Southern Nevada, having owned a residence in Searchlight for nearly 20 years. For a lot of that time, she’s been fighting repeated threats of industrial development.

 “It is almost guaranteed to become another site for industrial-scale wind and solar projects, as foreign developers try to make a killing on “green” energy with no consideration for the residents or the environment,” she says.
Avi Kwa Ame’s national monument designation supporters include groups like the Nevada Outdoor Business Coalition (NVOBC), the Boulder City Town Council, Boulder City Chamber of Commerce, the Las Vegas chapter of the International Dark Skies Association, Las Vegas Astronomical Society, Nevada Conservation League, Conservation Lands Foundation, and the National Parks Conservation Association, among other. The public can take action by signing the petition at



Stephanie Forté is a storyteller, connector, and problem-solver inspired by the great outdoors and energized by the transformation of people, communities, and brands. She is a longtime advocate for public lands, outdoor recreation, and women’s health.

She spotlights people and organizations creating meaningful change in her writing and award-winning PR strategies. Stephanie also mines her life for stories, and her published essays have helped others navigate challenges and to feel less alone.

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