Bill will open up land for Motocross Park and Elko Indian Colony
April 28, 2010
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid today submitted testimony to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in support of the Elko Motocross and Tribal Conveyance Act. Senator Reid is the author and lead sponsor of the bill. Senator Ensign is a cosponsor. The legislation would direct the Secretary of the Interior to transfer two parcels of land in Elko County. Three hundred acres would go to Elko County for construction of the Elko Motocross Park, a new facility for BMX, motocross, off-highway vehicles, and stock car racing. The second transfer would expand lands held in trust by the Department of the Interior for the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians for housing, commercial, and cultural activities. Reid’s testimony as submitted to the committee is below.
“I want to thank Chairman Bingaman, Senator Murkowski, and the members of the committee for holding this hearing on the Elko Motocross and Tribal Conveyance Act, S.3185.
“My bill would direct the Bureau of Land Management to transfer two parcels of land. Title I would convey to Elko County approximately 300 acres just west of the City of Elko to provide space for the construction of a BMX, motocross, off-highway vehicle, and stock car racing area. Title II would direct the Secretary of the Interior to take 373 acres of public land into trust to expand the Elko Indian Colony.
“I salute Elko County for being proactive on this issue. Through the development of the Motocross Park, they are making sure that the people of northeastern Nevada have a high-quality facility for safe motorized recreation. People from across northern Nevada will be able to use and enjoy this new facility.
“Whether their sport is stock cars, BMX, off-highway vehicles, or dirt bikes, motorized recreation is a big part of life in the Silver State. An added bonus of this new site is that it will provide an economic boost for the community through construction jobs in the short-term and thousands of visitors over the long-term. The facility will provide a place for people to learn responsible use and enjoyment of recreational vehicles and can serve as a model for other communities that are interested in providing diverse motorized recreation opportunities.
“Mr. Chairman, Elko has also been home for generations of Western Shoshone Indians. The Elko Band have been an important part of the Elko Community since it was established in the late 1800s. In spite of a steadily growing population, the colony has not expanded for 75 years and most members of the Elko Band have to make their homes outside of the colony.
“As you know, land is lifeblood for Native Americans. It is a place to make a home and earn a living, a place tied to ancestors, and key in the preservation of culture and language. My legislation provides space for appropriate residential and commercial development, as well as for traditional uses, such as ceremonial gatherings and plant collecting.
“Small adjustments like these two land transfers are vital to the healthy development of Nevada’s rural communities. I would like to commend the City of Elko, Elko County, the Elko Band, and the rest of the community members whose collaboration on both of these efforts made this legislation possible.
“I greatly appreciate the distinguished Chairman and Ranking Member making time for this hearing and I look forward to working with the Committee to advance this bill.”