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September 13, 2000

ALONG THE WAY: Beaver Dam State Park


Alan Newberry, Regional Manager, Lincoln County State Parks ... well I think the most significant attraction at Beaver Dam is just the solitude and the beauty. It's a nice park to go visit. It's usually quiet and remote and you can fish or just relax. There's also 28 mi. of dirt road to get there, which also discourages a lot of people from going out to the park. But it's well worth the visit if you are willing to take the time to drive out there. There are three campgrounds in Beaver Dam. We're standing here in the first unit, but if you'll just drive a quarter mile up the road there's campground 2, or campground 'b'. And if you want a real primitive site you can drive another two and a half miles down the road to what we call the primitive area. There are 4 campsites down there, and you can really have that one yourself. And it's really close to the stream if you want to be near that sound and away from people.

That’s Alan Newberry, Regional Manager for the State Parks in Lincoln County, and he’s absolutely right… it IS the solitude. I’ve often visited Beaver Dam State Park during ideal weather conditions and found myself the only person here. For those of us who frequent this park that’s hard to understand. Beaver Dam is only a three-hour drive Northeast from Las Vegas on the Great Basin Highway. Another State Park just up the road takes about the same amount of time to get to from Las Vegas and yet in 1999 Spring Valley had over 160,000 campers while Beaver Dam had only 7,000. The lack of visitation certainly can’t be due to a scarcity of beauty. The hike down to Schroeder reservoir alone is worth the trip.

The trail starts with a wooden bridge spanning the creek that feeds the reservoir. You can expect to see an abundance of wildlife here. Around 120 species inhabit this wash including the namesake of the park.

Alan Newberry, Regional Manager ... Within a hundred yards of the trail you'll see your first Beaver Dam. And as you walked down of the lake you'll see several places where they do have dams where they’ve backed up the water. So it's really an interesting experience. If you come here early in the evening, just before dark, if you're lucky you'll see the Beaver out on the pond building their dams.

Wildlife viewing is a great attraction here at Beaver Dam. Whether it’s large mammals like deer grazing the hillsides or small insects like blue and red dragonflies having dogfights among the reeds at the wash. Another very popular activity here is fishing for rainbow trout.

Alan Newberry, Regional Manager ... It's kind of interesting these trout are not stocked in the normal way. They're stocked usually in the fall by helicopter.

David Bert ... that's right. And they only bring in little tiny fingerlings don't they?

Alan Newberry, Regional Manager ... That's correct. they're just fingerlings when they bring them in but hopefully by the time you start to fish for them the next spring they're good-sized trout for you to take home with you.

If you plan on fishing here be sure you bring your flies and lures. No bait is allowed.

Above all, Beaver dam State Park has character. With volcanic hills made up of pink rhyolite, red and gray andesite, as well as white ash-fall tufts you’ll find the view here magnificent in a very subtle way. The character is further exemplified by the two Indian metates embedded in the base of an old CCC picnic table built in the 1930s. But the best example of the character here in the park is the often-missed Waterfall trail about three quarters of a mile below the lower campground.

Alan Newberry, Regional Manager ... It's not the waterfall if you went to Yellowstone, but if you come to rural Nevada in the desert it's a nice little oasis. And there’s also a hot springs just above the waterfall which has 90-degree temperature year around. So with the solitude it's worth it to visit the waterfall trail.

Beaver Dam is a year round park, and everyone has their favorite time to come here. Mine is the spring and early summer. For Alan Newberry it’s the fall.

Alan Newberry, Regional Manager ... Yeah I think Beaver Dam is really spectacular in the fall because of the fall colors. You’ve got the reds and the oranges and it's quite spectacular. There are lots of things to see and do here. If you like to mountain bike, bring your mountain bike. If you just like to pleasure walk there are lots of miles of trails and there's lots of open space roads that you can hike. And then you can freelance hike up through the hills, which is quite spectacular, especially in the fall.

But Beaver Dam State Park is less about recreation than it is about rejuvenation. Everything in this park meanders, and it’s almost impossible to avoid slowing down yourself. As you walk along the road in the lower campground listening to the creek and the songbirds, looking at more green that you thought existed in the entire state you’ll forget all about that 28 miles of dirt road that you traveled to get here. And you’ll wonder why in the world it took you so long to visit this place.

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