Generally, the mention of Las Vegas conjures up notions of debauchery, artificiality and hedonism. "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" it is said. In the midst of a financial boom, new housing developments — and adjacent strip malls - sprawl in every direction of the city. Resorts grow at break-neck speed to accommodate the never ending flow of visitors pouring in from around the globe. However, not everyone comes to gamble and party. Some come to enjoy the natural beauty of the Mojave Desert which can be done in national park areas such as Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon and soon in the Las Vegas Springs Preserve.
Situated roughly three miles west of downtown Las Vegas, the area once contained bubbling springs which sustained Native Americans living in the area and later Mormon pioneers and other travelers. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978, the180-acre sanctuary for flora and fauna is due to open in June 8th 2007. More below the fold...At the Preserve, visitors will be able to explore both the Las Vegas valley landscape and a scenic wetland habitat through a system of trails. The self guided walks feature displays about the nature and history of the region. Furthermore, "the Springs Preserve experience includes colorful desert botanical gardens, museum galleries, outdoor concerts and events, an indoor theater and a historic photo gallery." The Nevada State Museum, which will be housed on the preserve, will contain new exhibits about the dinosaurs that lived in Southern Nevada millions of years ago.
Although much emphasis is put on the past, the Springs Preserve also leans forward towards the future. The Sustainability Gallery features interactive exhibits such as the "Compost Crawl" and the "Smart Shopper" which each illustrate the impacts of household consumption and educate visitors about environmentally friendly choices and products. The "Inside Out" exhibit in the Desert Living Center shows visitors some of the green building elements and techniques employed in its creation; the Center is aiming for a LEED platinum rating. Educational programming such as the Water-Smart landscaping series, provide further opportunities for adults and children alike to learn about sustainable living.
Whether you are a Las Vegas resident or just passing through the Springs Preserve is a sustainable refuge and a destination well worth visiting. :: Las Vegas Springs Preserve