Updates from the Black Rock February 2019

Welcome to the February 2019 newsletter! We’ve got some really awesome opportunities to get involved! Read on for full details.

Artist in Residence

2018 Artists in Residence Clairissa Stephens and Teal Francis completed their pieces and are ready to show the community! Join us in admiring how their work showcases the beauty and majesty of the Black Rock Desert High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area. Gallery details:



February 5-16

Humboldt County Library. 85 East 5th Street, Winnemucca, NV 98445.

Artist Reception

February 16th from 11:00am-1:00pm.

Humboldt County Library. 85 East 5th Street, Winnemucca, NV 98445.

Teal Francis



February 17-28

Potentialist Workshop. 838 East 2nd Street, Reno, NV 89502.

Artist Reception

February 23rd from 5:30-7:30pm.

Potentialist Workshop. 838 East 2nd Street, Reno, NV 89502.



Clairissa Stephens

March 1-15.

Friends of Black Rock. 320 Main Street, Gerlach, NV 89412.

Artist Reception

March 1st from 5:00-7:00pm.

Friends of Black Rock. 320 Main Street, Gerlach, NV 89412.

Conditions Update

Whether the weather is good or bad, we’ve got the current conditions in the Black Rock. First, High Rock Canyon is closed for the spring so that the bighorn and raptors can raise their babies in peace. Due to the frequent rain and snow, the playa is also closed. Don’t try to drive on it, or you will get stuck. Finally, Soldier Meadows road is open again after repairs to the January wash out.

Site Stewardship

Damage @ Black Rock Point. Photo: Dave Cooper

Some places are special, for instance hot springs, petroglyphs, and petrified forests… Unfortunately, so many of these sites in Nevada need a helping hand. However, the land is not alone! Nevada Site Stewards and keep an eye on all our special places. When you sign up to take the March 2nd training class in Carson City, get a site, and hit the trails, you’ll join a community of like-minded Nevadans caring for the wilderness. Stewards are expected to visit their site and submit reports a couple times a year. Regardless of whether you steward in the Black Rock or elsewhere in Nevada, you’re helping keep our lands wild, free, and in good shape. Click here to learn more about the program. To sign up, contact Samantha Rubinson by email or call (702)486-5011 with your name and where you live.

If site stewardship isn’t for you, but you like to visit historic sites, you can still help out. If you find damage at your favorite place on Federal Public Lands in Nevada, use this form to report what you saw. You can send pictures too.

Doobie Lane Clean Up

Doobie is our Guru

Mark your calendars because we’re restoring Guru Road on April 28th this year! We have lots of work planned, including painting rocks and picking trash. We’ll be there with tools and safety equipment, for example, pickers and bags. The event runs from 10:00am-2:00pm. In addition to weather-appropriate clothes, wear closed to shoes. Most importantly, bring a water bottle and your best self. Sign up here.

Fly Ranch Update

Geyser in the Clouds

Fly Ranch Nature Walk tickets are available! Book today, as we expect popular dates to sell out fast. The tours start with check in at the FBR office (320 Main St. in Gerlach) and include an added stop to explore the old ranch house area. You’ll still get the 1.5 mile wetland walking loop and photo ops at the geysers. Contact Claire for more information or to request limited mobility accommodations.

Fly Team Docent Volunteers keep the Fly Ranch Nature walks successful. You’ll have a great visit because of their time and efforts. Fly Team members enjoy benefits, for example, free access to Fly Ranch on tours they help lead and free or discounted Leave No Trace and Wilderness First Aid courses. First, fill out the Volunteer Questionnaire then sign up for walks.

The State. Our Union.

Stacey Wittek, Executive Director

Stacey Wittek

I recently read the full text of Jimmy Carter’s 1979 speech to the American people in response to the energy crisis. I didn’t remember the speech at the time. I was 12 and my most pressing concern involved the acquisition of Chemin de fer jeans.

But I knew the reaction—a derision from politicians and people alike. The ‘malaise’ speech, in which a standing president lectured people waiting hours in line for rationed gas as the price at the pump doubled, was an affront. So much so that Reagan referred to it in his campaign for president, stating often and to great success, ‘there is nothing wrong with the American people.’

So, I read it. No malaise! And though you may argue about the policy prescriptions and the results–in a perfect world would anyone drive a Pinto—it is remarkably prescient and surprisingly hopeful.

Like Carter, I find nothing wrong with humility in the face of real concerns. Nor do I find it weak to confront uncomfortable truths.

It’s pretty popular these days to blame politicians with being out of touch with citizens. It’s even easier to see special interests and powerful lobbyists as eating away at our trust in good and fair governance.

What I read, though, was not about a sapping of confidence or an inevitable decline but a reminder of our will and power to change, our incredible capacity to invent and innovate, and our sense of responsibility to one another.

We, too, have a crisis. Not in confidence but in our sense of responsibility to future generations.

Our level of resource consumption is unsustainable and nihilistic, and, in our hearts we know it. I believe the stewardship of public lands is one of the single-most powerful things we can do to change that outcome.

Why? Because public lands are, well, public. The community of supporters cross political boundaries, race and color lines and gender. Public lands bring together anglers and hunters, mountain bikers and hikers, veterans’ groups and scientists.

Federal law mandates that public lands serve multiple uses—from mining and grazing to the preservation of cultural resources—but more important they provide a place for all Americans—not just the wealthy few—to play.

Public lands reflect our history, our struggle for equality and liberty and are a deep-seated part of our collective memory as a nation.

The tough pill to swallow in Carter’s speech was that the energy crisis would not be solved by governance or policy alone but in the actions of its citizens as well. Now, we too, must change.

Public lands are a crucial tool in global warming, they carbon sequester, they inhibit development and they provide sanctuary to animals increasingly threatened by habitat loss and climate change.

We can no longer act like nothing is wrong, but that does not require us to behave like the end is near. Public lands require civic service, but give so much in return. A chance to act as if our choices matter, our volunteerism has purpose and the state of the union is strong.

top of black rock point
Enjoying our public lands