Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Las Vegas Springs Preserve

The site of the very beginnings of modern Las Vegas can still be visited. Las Vegas Springs Preserve is a 180 acre refuge from modern big-city Las Vegas and harkens back to a time when freshwater springs bubbled up in the valley, fed from rainfall far off in the mountains which traveled through the porous rock, and created a green oasis in the desert basin.

This oasis gave the city its name, Las Vegas, meaning The Meadows in Spanish.

I highly recommend a visit to the Preserve. A ton of work has been done to recreate various ecosystems that were once endemic to the area - and that have sadly been eradicated. The spring water itself that made Las Vegas possible, and supplied the city through its early years of growth, have long since been pumped dry, the demand greatly outstripping mother nature's ability to provide for us.

Here, in pictures, is a walk through the Preserve.
It is tricky to find the entrance to the Preserve, but worth it.
Canyon re-creations lead you to the ticket-wicket.
A re-created Paiute village features ancient grass. No, real grass...
Underground springs form spring mounds, making it easy to find them. The fact that water is springing out of the ground helps also. Sadly, the springs are dry having been long ago overpumped to supply the city of Las Vegas. But the mounds remain.

The spring mound from Big Spring, which gave the desert valley the water that named the meadow that named Las Vegas.
Exciting re-creation of a shack. Hey, they can't all be winners.

Water derrick.
I got a hankerin' for some KFL... mmmm...mmm!
The Big Spring flowed into a creek, which filled a pool, and created a green meadow. There were many such springs 12,000 years ago - a handful remain. A very small, dryish handful.
The Spring then.... Keep yer Spring Mound to yerself, Jethro!!!!
The spring now.
... and more of now.
Recreated wetlands habitat.

Las Vegas is prepared for water... but from on top of the ground when it rains, not from the springs.

That which allowed Las Vegas ranchers and city builders to prosper also drained the springs. Las Vegas now gets its water from Lake Mead, created by the Hoover Dam.
Is that a derrick in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
Las Vegas Springs Preserve
333 S. Valley View Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89107 (702) 822-7700
Find us!

I visited the Springs Preserve as part of a (soon to be) award winning Las Vegas Trip Report. The full description of my day can be found here, in the post Taking the Asshat to the Springs.
There's a handy index page for the What Goes Around Spins Around trip report.

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