Monday

Clark County Wetlands Park & Nature Preserve

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This page last updated on 04/13/2017
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Directions: From the Stratosphere, head southwest on South Las Vegas Blvd and go .3 miles to Sahara Ave. Turn left onto NV-589 E/E Sahara Ave and drive 3.2 miles and then turn right onto NV-582 South (Boulder Hwy) for .8 miles.  Take the ramp onto I-515 S/US-93 S/US-95 South and go 2.3 miles and take exit 68 for Tropicana Ave toward McCarran Airport. Go .3 miles and Turn left onto East Tropicana Ave. Follow Tropicana east for 2.9 miles, crossing Boulder Highway and continue east until Tropicana bends to the right in a broad, 45-degree turn to the right (south). At the curve, Tropicana becomes Broadbent Blvd. On the outside of the curve, Tropicana continues east, but the name changes to Wetlands Park Lane. Watch for a small sign for the Preserve at the intersection. Drive east on Wetlands Park Lane (Tropicana), bending to the left at the end, and into the parking area. Trails start at the Nature Center and lead north and east into the wetlands area..

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General Description The Clark County Wetlands Park is the largest park in the Clark County, Nevada park system. The park is located on the east side of the Las Vegas valley and runs from the various water treatment plants near the natural beginning of the Las Vegas Wash to where the wash flows under Lake Las Vegas and later into Lake Mead. The park includes 2,900 acres of water, trails, and trees along the Las Vegas Wash (Fig. 03).  The 210 acre Nature Preserve (Fig. 02) features two miles of concrete walking trails as well as several miles of graveled secondary trails.  In addition, there is another hiking area just south called, The Duck Creek Trail that is over a 1/2 mile in length. Its trailhead begins at Broadbent and ends at the Wetlands Nature Preserve. Visitors can also access the 1/2 mile Coyote Loop and the Quail Run Loop from the main Duck Creek Trail. Both of these areas offer plentiful opportunities for wildlife viewing, photography, and simply escaping to a unique natural environment.  The Park is a shaded, green oasis overlooking the city of Las Vegas (Fig. 04). 


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Visitor/Nature Center: Its Nature Center (Fig. 01) is a 45,000-square-feet complex featuring 30,000 square feet of building space and 15,000 square feet of ADA-accessible outdoor observation decking for dramatic viewing of the park and surrounding mountain ranges. The Nature Center Exhibit Gallery is 8,335 square feet and contains interactive exhibits, a model of the Las Vegas Wash, dioramas with life-sized native wildlife and vegetation, and a solar-powered exhibit featuring motorized insects. The administrative building opened in September 2012. It is 11,000 square feet and includes offices, restrooms, volunteer work space, a conference room, archive room and classrooms. There is a lighted parking lot with restrooms, spaces for 160 cars and seven buses, and trail access.  The Park is open from dawn to dusk every day. The Nature Center is open from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm every day except New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

06/06/2015 Trip Notes: Today, Blake Smith and I decided to take a morning hike around the Clark County Nature Preserve. Though we did observe several American Coots (Fig. 05), additional water fowl sightings were rare. Even though there are several ponds here (Figs. 02 & 06), none of them have the popular nesting islands that can be found at the Henderson Bird Preserve. While hiking the trails we heard bull frogs, spotted a variety of small birds and quail, and an overabundance of cottontail rabbits (Fig. 07). We were both surprised at the amount of water flowing through the Las Vegas Wash that runs along the northeast boundary of the preserve (Figs. 02 & 08). When standing on the long bridge that crosses the wash, we were able to spot several carp swimming in the water on its north side. Upon completion of our hiking, we returned to the multi-million dollar Visitor/Nature Center and took a tour of its 8,335 square foot Exhibit Gallery (Fig. 01).
                                
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Note: The Las Vegas Wash is a tributary that channels storm-water, urban runoff, shallow groundwater and highly-treated waste-water into the Las Vegas Bay at Lake Mead. This wash, fed by Duck Creek, Las Vegas Creek, Flamingo Wash, Pittman Wash, Monson Channel, Sloan Channel, Meadows Detention Basin, and the Tule Springs Wash, provides nearly 2 percent of Lake Mead's yearly water deposits. It is of particular interest to the Las Vegas Valley Water District for the unique role it plays in the valley's ecological picture.

03/01/2012 Trip NotesI came here for the second time with a friend that was visiting from out of state. Though everything is more colorful later in the spring when the trees and plants are in bloom, it was still a nice hike. We observed a variety of wildlife including some turtles (Fig. 09), a white egret, a hawk, coots (Fig. 10), ducks, a huge roadrunner and nearly a half-dozen Desert Cottontail Rabbits. Unfortunately, the only thing I was able to capture  before they either flew off or ran away were a few coots and some turtles that were lazily sunning themselves on a rock, oblivious to all passersby. Laced with more than five miles of concrete and graveled secondary walking trails, one can spend upwards of three hours looking for wildlife photo opportunities. The view in (Fig. 12) is of the Las Vegas Water Reclamation Facility.


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