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Outback Nevada: Public Domain and Environmental Challenge
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Abstract. With the arrival of Euro-Americans to Nevada, settlers and travelers experienced struggles and opportunities on Nevada’s marginal lands. These lands did not fit well with Euro-American ideas of progress and resource-use throughout the second part of the nineteenth century. After 1848, these marginal lands became part of America’s public domain with little promise for permanent settlements. Between 1860 and 1905, Euro-Americans imposed unsustainable land-uses on Nevada’s marginal lands. Due to increased competition on limited rangelands, federal land managers working for the United States Forest Service (USFS) came to Nevada after 1905 and secured the water resources in the highest mountains to promote favorable conditions of water flows for preferred local settlers. These settlers were the cattle ranchers with permanent home ranches that depended on water from the high mountains for summer grazing and haymaking. In the early twentieth century, beginning with the creation of the USFS in 1905 and ending with the Taylor Grazing Act in 1934, federal land managers were critical to maintaining successful settlements on a challenging environment in outback Nevada.