Dean Baker 1939-2017
A Nevada man who helped lead left/right coalitions to protect the state’s environment has died in St. George, Utah.
Dean Baker moved to the town of Baker, Nevada—the town’s name preceded the family’s arrival—in 1950 to join his father in running a Snake Valley ranch. The town is located on the Nevada/Utah border. Though not a high school graduate, Baker managed to take a degree in business from the University of Utah.
During the Carter administration, a huge planned missile system on rails would have taken up wide swaths of public land in Nevada and Utah and used large amounts of water. Baker and other ranchers made common cause with environmentalists to fight the project, which would have been the largest construction project in human history. Following President Carter’s reelection defeat, President Reagan canceled it.
More recently, a water grab to feed growth in Clark County has targeted eastern Nevada/western Utah water and sparked a revival of the coalition of environmentalists and ranchers. Clark County officials targeted valleys that included Baker’s ranch.