Your tax dollars at work: Nevada wants a “burro barrier”

| Monday, April 21, 2003

In the old days of the American West, it was burro power, teams of mules or donkeys, that moved freight across the vast spaces.

Wagon drivers were long ago replaced by truckers, and their 18-wheeled vehicles have taken the place of 18-burro teams, but the stubborn animals remain in many parts of the West, now running wild in many areas, including Nevada's Red Rock Canyon.

The four-legged imports are the canyon's “unofficial mascots,” according to a report from KVBC TV in Las Vegas. The burros, which like animals in parks and other natural attractions come down to roads for handouts, can become a traffic hazard.

Now, ironically, taxes from America's truckers may help pay for measures to protect the burros in that area.

A group of Nevada legislators has introduced AB276, a measure designed to protect the animals and drivers on state Route 159, which passes through the area. The Nevada bill calls for fencing along the highway to separate burros from Buicks in the scenic and popular area.

In addition to the fence, the bill calls for state officials to find two places for “burro bridges,” underpasses where the burros and other livestock can move underneath the highway.

The bill, which was introduced March 11, and is now before the Committee on Ways and Means.

--by Mark H. Reddig, associate editor

Mark Reddig can be reached at mreddig@landlinemag.com.

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