|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||December 4, 2012|
|Contact:||Lynn Davis, Nevada Field Office Manager, National Parks Conservation Association: 702-281-7380, email@example.com
Kati Schmidt, Senior Media Relations Manager, National Parks Conservation Association: 415.728.0840, firstname.lastname@example.org
Saber-Toothed Cat Fossils Discovered in Proposed Southern Nevada National Park Site
Conservation Groups Call for Congress to Act Quickly to Designate Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument
Las Vegas, NV – This week, paleontologists confirmed the discovery of 15,000 year-old saber-toothed cat fossils in Tule Springs in the Upper Las Vegas Wash, an area where national park legislation is currently being considered. The discovery coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Big Dig, and adds to the thousands of Ice Age fossils found over the years in the area. Paleontologists have uncovered several species, including Columbian mammoth, American lion, massive bison, ancient horse, and sloth.
A paleontology team from the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands, California – which had been contracted to survey the area – announced the discovery. In a statement, Kathleen Spring, senior curator for the museum, said: “We’ve been saying for years that these critters were out here, somewhere. It was just a matter of time until we found one.”
In June, bipartisan legislation introduced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Senator Dean Heller, and Nevada Congresswoman Shelley Berkley called for elevating the area to a National Park Service site. The land is currently already federally owned and managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Tule Springs Fossil Beds Monument Act calls to protect nearly 23,000 acres of land, Ice Age fossils that date back over 100,000 years, rare plants, and desert wildlife.
“This discovery provides yet another reason why National Park Service protection is deserved and necessary for the continued research and public enjoyment of this fascinating area,” said Lynn Davis, Nevada field office manager for the National Parks Conservation Association. “This area is perpetually at risk due to looting, vandalism, and other activities that threaten the priceless resources that stand to be protected. We urge Congress to consider the importance of protecting this land for our generation, our children, and grandchildren by moving forward legislation to enhance this area.”
The nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has spent several years generating widespread public support for the creation of a Tule Springs national park.
“Notably, support for this area is broad and diverse,” says Davis. “It’s rare to see county and city officials, Nellis Air Force Base commanders, tribal council leaders of the nearby Las Vegas Paiute Reservation, educators, business leaders, and conservation groups unite. Community leaders want to see the area protected and, in the long run, turn this area into a world-class destination that attracts scientists, local residents and school children, and tourists alike.”
The National Parks Conservation Association, Protectors of Tule Springs, Center for Biological Diversity, Nevada Conservation League, Outside Las Vegas Foundation, Sierra Club, Red Rock Audubon Society, and Ice Age Park Foundation are among the many conversation organizations that joined together to advocate for national park status. In 2009, the Clark County Commission, and the mayors and city council members of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas unanimously passed resolutions asking Congress to add this area to the National Park system.