Could Columbia Mammoth, sloths as big as VW bugs and camelops have roamed the earth close to present-day Las Vegas? Fossils and research have left no doubt that 250,000 years ago, these animals inhabited the area shown above, known as Tule Springs.
It’s not a scenic spot. But on the last day of my trip to Las Vegas, I was privileged to be taken to Tule Springs by Lynn of the National Parks Conservation Association. The land is now owned by the Bureau of Land Management bu the ultimate goal is to make Tule Springs, a National Park Monument.
Right now, the area is not well protected and looters have taken fossils. Only National Park status will protect the fossils and will interpret what’s here for the public.
We walked into a dry wash and I wondered where the Springs had been. The earth is cracked and dry but there are plenty of creosote bushes and the occasional barrel cactus which turns pink. Lynn pointed out some fuzzy bear poppies.
But it’s the fossils that has everyone excited. Las Vegas has not fared well during this recession and it’s understood that the economy must have more than gambling to get visitors here. Beyond visitors, Lynn explains that residents living in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas would benefit greatly from having an urban park in their backyard.
I expect to hear more about Tule Springs, soon.