Lovelock Cave is part of the landscape that would be protected from development by the Pershing County Economic Development and Conservation Act. (BLM Nevada)

CARSON CITY – Protect the wilderness in Pershing County – that’s the message one Nevada veteran is bringing to Congress this week.

Hear an audio report from Suzanne Potter …

Veterans from around the country are meeting with lawmakers to hand-deliver a letter encouraging action on a number of public lands bills, including the Pershing County Economic Development and Conservation Act, which would designate 136,000 acres of new wilderness. Gabrielle D’Ayr, a former Navy aviation electronics technician from Las Vegas, said it’s important to preserve the wild spaces, especially for the men and women returning from deployments.

“It’s really, it’s a way to re-center. And it’s a way to regroup. And it’s a way to find your way back to living with the people in the communities that you were just serving in the military,” D’Ayr said.

The Pershing County Economic Development and Conservation Act was introduced by Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei, and co-sponsored by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto along with the entire Nevada congressional delegation.

D’Ayr said she hopes to see Nevada’s eco-tourism economy flourish to diversify the state economy. She added this shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

“This is for Republicans, this is for Democrats, this is for independents, this is for Americans,” she said. “And it really shouldn’t be something that the parties fight about. It should be something that is unifying, and bringing them together for the good of America.”

The land to be permanently protected from development includes Star Peak, Mount Tobin, the Humboldt State Wildlife Management Area, and Lovelock Cave, which is a major Native American archaeological site.