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Ash Meadows

Early History

Native Americans have lived in Ash Meadows for thousands of years settling around spring pools and meadows. Families owned and managed mesquite groves to enhance the size and taste of the nutritious seed pods. For hundreds of years, Native Americans cultivated corn, beans, squash, and sunflowers in small fields irrigated with spring water. From their Ash Meadows homes they traveled to the mountains to gather pinyon pine nuts, hunt bighorn sheep, and exchange news with friends and relatives.

Many decendants of the prehistoric Ash Meadows Native Americans live today amoung the nearby Pahrump Southern Paiute and Timbisha Shoshone of Death Valley. The old archeological sites, historic home locations, mesquite groves, and crystal pure water of Ash Meadows remain important elements of modern Shoshone and Paiute culture.


Later History

The Amargosa Valley is also rich in pioneer history. Many settlers were interested in the prospects of mining or farming. Ash Meadows was intensively farmed prior to its establishment as a National Wildlife Refuge. During the 1960's and early 1970's in particular, irrigated row crops, grazing, and development took a heavy toll on the area's natural resources. Plants, fish, and wildlife declined as pumping and diversion of spring channels, development of roads, large scale earth moving, and introduction of over 100 non-native plants and animals occurred in a "blink" of evolutionary time. The Carson Slough, an area in the northwestern portion of the refuge which was historically the largest wetland in southern Nevada, was drained and mined for its peat in the 1960's.

ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - map/sat - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - book store
ghost towns - gold mines - parks & public lands: wilderness - native culture - history - geology: natural features - glossary - comments
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