BLM to un­veil Sloan Canyon vis­i­tor cen­ter plans

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - NEVADA & THE WEST - By Henry Brean

The Bureau of Land Man­age­ment will un­veil its plans for a per­ma­nent vis­i­tor cen­ter at Sloan Canyon Na­tional Con­ser­va­tion Area dur­ing a pub­lic fo­rum in Hen­der­son on Wed­nes­day.

Bureau of­fi­cials will col­lect in­put on the pro­posed $8 mil­lion project dur­ing the fo­rum, from 5-8 p.m. at the Levi Strauss Sky Har­bor Dis­tri­bu­tion Cen­ter at 501 Ex­ec­u­tive Air­port Drive.

“This is a chance for the pub­lic to weigh in on what they’d like to see in a vis­i­tor cen­ter,” said Jim Stanger, board pres­i­dent of the non­profit ad­vo­cacy group Friends of Sloan Canyon, which looks af­ter the con­ser­va­tion area.

The 48,438-acre con­ser­va­tion area at the south­ern edge of Hen­der­son was es­tab­lished by Con­gress in 2002, but a paved ac­cess road and a tem­po­rary vis­i­tor con­tact sta­tion at the site weren’t com­pleted un­til 2016.

The new cen­ter will in­clude an in­door space and a small out­door ex­hibit and am­phithe­ater area, along with trails, re­strooms, pic­nic ta­bles and over­looks, ac­cord­ing to a di­a­gram pro­vided by the BLM.

“This is a good thing,” said Stanger. “It’s time to be proac­tive and start ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple on the cul­tural re­sources and the NCA as a whole.”

For cen­turies, Amer­i­can In­dian hunters stalked bighorn sheep and carved mes­sages among the cliffs and mon­soon wa­ter­ing holes of the north McCullough Range. In one nar­row slot, now known as Pet­ro­glyph Canyon, re­searchers have cat­a­loged about 1,700 sym­bols etched in the rock.

The con­ser­va­tion area was set aside to pre­serve those an­cient hunt­ing grounds and the wildlife there.

The BLM has more than enough money to pay for the new fa­cil­i­ties.

When the con­ser­va­tion area was cre­ated, law­mak­ers seeded it with $63 mil­lion from the sale of 480 acres of pub­lic land at the south­ern edge of Hen­der­son. Nearly all of that money re­mains in an in­ter­est-bear­ing en­dow­ment fund, even af­ter more than $10 mil­lion was spent on the ac­cess road, trails, signs, stud­ies and plan­ning doc­u­ments over the past 16 years.

Stanger said con­struc­tion could be­gin on the vis­i­tor cen­ter in the spring.

The BLM is also con­sid­er­ing new ap­proaches to “man­ag­ing ac­cess” to

Pet­ro­glyph Canyon by of­fer­ing more ranger-led group hikes to the site, he said.

Las Ve­gas Re­view-Jour­nal file

Rock art dec­o­rates a hill­side at Sloan Canyon Na­tional Con­ser­va­tion Area south of Hen­der­son. More than a decade af­ter its cre­ation, the fed­eral pre­serve re­mains rel­a­tively ob­scure and hard to reach.

Na­talie Burt

The Bureau of Land Man­age­ment is plan­ning to in­stall a per­ma­nent vis­i­tor cen­ter at Sloan Canyon.

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