The Congress finds the following:
The areas of northwestern Nevada known as the Black Rock Desert and High Rock Canyon contain and surround the last nationally significant, untouched segments of the historic California emigrant Trails, including wagon ruts, historic inscriptions, and a wilderness landscape largely unchanged since the days of the pioneers.
The relative absence of development in the Black Rock Desert and high  Rock Canyon areas from emigrant times to the present day offers a unique opportunity to capture the terrain, sights, and conditions of the overland trails as they were experienced by the emigrants and to make available to both present and future generations of Americans the opportunity of experiencing emigrant conditions in an unaltered setting.
The Black Rock Desert and High Rock Canyon areas are unique segments of the Northern Great Basin and contain broad representation of the Great Basin’s land forms and plant and animal species, including golden eagles and other birds of prey, sage grouse, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, free roaming horses and burros, threatened fish and sensitive plants.
The Black Rock-High Rock region contains a number of cultural and natural resources that have been declared eligible for National Historic Landmark and Natural Landmark status, including a portion of the 1843–44 John Charles Fremont exploration route, the site of the death of Peter Lassen, early military facilities, and examples of early homesteading and mining.
The archeological, paleontological, and geographical resources of the Black Rock-High Rock region include numerous prehistoric and historic Native American sites, wooly mammoth sites, some of the largest natural potholes of North America, and a remnant dry Pleistocene lakebed (playa) where the curvature of the Earth may be observed.
The two large wilderness mosaics that frame the conservation area offer exceptional opportunities for solitude and serve to protect the integrity of the viewshed of the historic emigrant trails.
Public lands in the conservation area have been used for domestic livestock grazing for over a century, with resultant benefits to community stability and contributions to the local and State economies. It has not been demonstrated that continuation of this use would be incompatible with appropriate protection and sound management of the resource values of these lands; therefore, it is expected that such grazing will continue in accordance with the management plan for the conservation area and other applicable laws and regulations.
The Black Rock Desert playa is a unique natural resource that serves as the primary destination for the majority of visitors to the conservation area, including visitors associated with large-scale permitted events. It is expected that such permitted events will continue to be administered in accordance with the management plan for the conservation area and other applicable laws and regulations.
(Pub. L. 106–554, § 1(a)(4) [div. B, title I, § 125 [§ 2]], Dec. 21, 2000, 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A–229, 2763A–353.)