The Tule Springs Fossil Beds Monument in North Las Vegas was established two years ago, but will soon get its first designated walking trail. This trail will guide tourists through the open desert concealing millions of years worth of fossilized remains. Columbian mammoths, sabre-tooth cats and extinct species of camel and horses have all been exhumed from the ancient grounds.
A 10,000 foot walking trail, officially named the Tufa Trail, will be constructed,. The trailhead property will be handed over to the City of North Las Vegas to develop a design that conforms to the Council’s current development vision.
No one knows what the final design will look like, but Mayor John Lee asserted that “this is an urban national monument, and it needs an urban entrance.” Mayor Lee also added that “this historical site is a unique asset that we in North Las Vegas are extremely proud of, and with our new trail and trailhead, we are excited to share it with the world.”
Tule Springs Fossil Beds Monument Trail to Be Located by Villages at Tule Springs
When completed, the Tufa Trail will be accessible by an extension of North Fifth Street, but it will also be accessible by thousands of new neighbors. The large master planned community next door, the Villages at Tule Springs, will break ground early next year.
The Villages at Tule Springs is set to become the largest housing development since the 2009 recession hit the City of North Las Vegas. When complete, the project will span almost 2,000 acres and provide about 8,700 residences to the local community. City officials and local developers expect the Villages to become a hub for North Las Vegas economic growth, spurred by an influx of employment opportunities at the nearby Apex Industrial Park.
As part of a multi-party contract with the City of North Las Vegas and the National Park Service, Villages at Tule Springs developer KGB Capital Advisors will spend $5 million of their own cash to create access roads and a parking lot for the Tule Springs Fossil Beds Monument as well as constructing the Tufa Trail itself. After construction of the infrastructure is complete, the company will transfer the path to the National Park Service and the trailhead to the City.
A Park Millions of Years in the Making
The Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument was part of a legislation package signed into law in 2014 by President Barack Obama. Spanning 22,650 acres, the park is the State of Nevada’s only National Monument. It was designated to protect the eponymous fossil beds containing skeletal remains from the ice age and other prehistoric eras.
The park currently lacks facilities to help guide and accommodate tourists, something preservation groups hope to soon amend.
“The No. 1 question I get from people is where they can go to walk at the Tule Springs monument,” claims Jill DeStefano, president of the Protectors of Tule Springs,
and I never had an answer.” Her community activist group helped create the trail, and they will have some input into its final design.
“To finally be able to talk about this first trail is really exciting,” DeStefano gushed. “I think it’s just the start.”