Southern Nevada leaders make pitch for Tule Springs National Monument

Written By:

Steve Tetreault

Sensing economic promise in a trove of prehistoric artifacts, Southern Nevada leaders asked Congress Thursday to grant special status to rich fossil grounds on the northern edge of the Las Vegas Valley.

A Tule Springs Fossil Bed National Monument would stamp an imprimatur on 22,650 acres of federal land in the Upper Las Vegas Wash. Paleontologists regard the land as a treasure for what remains of Ice Age mammoths, giant sloths, lions, camels and other creatures that roamed between 10,000 and 250,000 years ago when the now-desert was green with vegetation.

Local officials see it as an attraction for archaeologists and eco-tourists from around the world, and perhaps enough to draw more visitors to Las Vegas from the Grand Canyon and national parks in Utah.