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Carson City, NV Public Comment Letter

San Pedro River -photography by Kerry O'Brien

To Whom It May Concern:

This email is in response to request for public comment regarding the proposed Resource Management Plan for the Carson City District, NV.

I admit to glazing over while reading the report, however I did thoroughly review the charts ES.8 Comparison of Alternatives on pages 11-15. Alternative C most reflects my values and concerns about the management of the public lands in this area.

I am deeply concerned about the continued deterioration of range conditions by over grazing and ongoing drought. Closing sensitive areas to grazing, extraction and ORV use is in the best interest of preserving and hopefully, maybe, restoring the ecosystem. The surface area of the Great Basin is a living organism that when broken leads to further desertification.

I applaud the reduction of livestock grazing to this end. I would call for further reduction in wild horse areas, except that 1) those herd areas have already been drastically reduced and in some cases zeroed, and 2) there are promising contraceptive programs underway to reduce wild horse populations, hopefully bringing them to mid-low AML within the next ten years, without the expense of gathers and culling to long term holding. Let these programs have a chance to succeed.

Reducing ORV use again preserves the desert crust allowing for water absorption and plant growth. Wilderness is preserved for those who make the effort to get out there to use and enjoy it. There is no mandate that it be made easy. There are now in AZ, “Quiet Areas,” requested by hunters who prefer to hunt without the noise of motorized vehicles. I support this trend. Nothing is more disturbing than expending one’s own effort to attain a wilderness experience and then have it shattered by a bunch of drunk yahoos on ATVs. The Great Basin, Nevada in particular, holds some of this country’s last great expanses of open country. Let it remain so.

I very much support the protection of sensitive environmental and archeological areas. When these areas are gone, they are gone forever. The same with fossil and mineral resources. We need not be in a hurry to deplete FINITE resources that have over millennia, in a century, a tiny blip on the timeline of earth. I urge you to keep that in perspective as you are charged with protecting the resources of our country and our earth, not selling them to the highest bidder. I would encourage that environmentally appropriate spaces be found for non-destructive wind, solar and other alternative energy sources which are rapidly becoming more productive and efficient. This is the wave of the future and Nevada could be on the cutting edge of that.


Kerry O’Brien


Welcome to Painted Desert

Old rusted car - Painted Desert, Arizona - Fine Art Landscape Photography by Kerry O'Brien

This is the welcome that greets one on the cutoff into the Painted Desert. Don’t think I’d want to make the trip in one of these.

Painted Desert – View from the Patio

Painted Desert, Arizona - Fine Art Landscape Photography by Kerry O'Brien

Painted Desert – View from the Patio – Photography by Kerry O’Brien Click for full res.

How would you like to have this view from the patio with your morning coffee? The Painted Desert Visitor Center is a beautifully restored adobe, originally the Painted Desert Inn, built in 1924 and later bought by Harvey House. For a good description of its history, click here.

Painted Desert After the Rain

Painted Desert after rain - Photography by Kerry O'Brien

Painted Desert after rains. Click for full scale.

When is an auto breakdown actually a break? When you still have your vehicle in the Painted Desert after a soaking rain. The colors are literally saturated. No adjustments necessary. Just stunningly beautiful landscapes, vistas and cold, clean air. A photographer’s dream.

Painted Desert Landscapes

Painted Desert Landscape - Three Sisters

Painted Desert Landscape – Photography by Kerry O’Brien – click to enlarge

Last December , right after the valve job that wasn’t, another repair left me stranded for a couple of days near Hollenbrook, west of Flag in the Painted Desert. Raining. Luckily the van was still drivable while I waited for parts and the Painted Desert after a winter rain is something to behold.  Here are two of the three sisters. Crazy geology out there. Will post more photographs in days to come.

Windmill near San Pedro National Wildlife Refuge, AZ – Photography by Kerry O’Brien

Windmill, Arizona - photography by Kerry O'Brien

The end of the day is my best time for photographing, especially in the wide open landscapes of the west. I stumbled on this windmill close to the San Pedro National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona where I stopped for retreat before re-entering the maelstrom of L.A.

Wild Horse Shiloh’s Mustang Foal Arrives!

Wild horse Shiloh, heavily pregnant when I photographed her right before the Wyoming Checkerboard gather in October 2014 delivers a perfect mustang foal!

Wild mustang Shiloh delivers healthy foalMy dear friend Tammy got a long-awaited gift this Good Friday morning. During the night, Shiloh’s mustang foal arrived! We’ve all been anxiously waiting for the hefty Appaloosa mare to foal.

Shiloh, mustang, wild horses, Checkerboard - photography by Kerry O'BrienShe was clearly pregnant when I photographed her in the wild at Salt Wells Creek on the Wyoming Checkerboard last September right before she was gathered with her previous mustang foals and yearlings.

Shiloh, pregnant mustang mare - photograph by Kerry O'Brien   Wild mustang Shiloh delivers healthy foal

Shiloh is a big girl, but she must have been holding this foal a little extra long. Not only had she gone longer than all bets placed, this little filly was born looking like she’s two weeks old! Right now she’s sorrel, but some other interesting coloring indicates that will change. Too soon to tell. Maybe some day we’ll be able to figure out who her daddy is.

Wild mustang Shiloh delivers healthy foalShiloh and foal are doing very well. Tammy’s infinite patience has paid off. As cranky as Shiloh was (imagine being two weeks late!) she is allowing lots of petting and contact with Paisley, her adopted filly corral mate. Well done Tammy!

PS: Photos by Tammy except the wild one.