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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
July 10, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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July 10, 1997

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2! Outdoors / Operation Game Thief: 1-800-992-3030 Operation Cal- Tip: 1-800-952-5400 Pahrump Valley Gazette, Thursday, July 10, 1997 27 i!i I ( by Ed Tomehin Possible conflicts between off-highway racing Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This historical cooperative effort in southern Ne- vada made it possible to start the Silve? State 300 off- highway vehicle (OHV) race as scheduled this past June. The race occurred in one day, commencing along Interstate 15 approximately 12 miles west of Mesquite and ending 300 miles later in Ely. Ap- proximately 50 miles of the race course ran through habitat important to the threatened desert tortoise, which is protected by the Federal Endangered Spe- cies Act. Federal biologists were concerned over the pos- sible impact this popular race might have on the desert tortoise and its habitat. However; the agree- ment was reached in a timely race to be original course. roads or maximized the ation - toexeeed 20 mph for pants. However, located i bureau land, : highway events. ement a monitoring program toevalu- - ate tortoise injury or mortality, course widening L and dust dissemination. The BLM will also monitoring the desert tortoise |11 iiiii iii iiiiiii iii i Giant prehistoric sea creatures in Nye County seas of the world with two other great groups of large by Ed Tomchin Travelers in Northern Nye County are usually surprised to find the well-preserved ghost town of Berlin, Nev, and the Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park, an archaeological dig which has produced the largest known fossils of prehis- toric reptiles. This remote area of Nye County hosts, without a doubt, Nevada's most unusual recreational area. HISTORY: In 1895, silver was found in the rugged foothills of Toiyabe's Shoshone Mountains and within a short time the town of Berlin was an estab- lished community. Within a short time the town could boast a large stamp mill and the ba- " sics of any outback min- ing community, includ- ing an assay office, nu- merous bars, a school- house, and a bustling population of 250. By 1905 Berlin had a stage line which connected it to other isolated mining camps in central Nevada. Sadly, however, by 1909 the mines had been depleted of ore, the mill closed down, and the townspeople had moved on to richer areas of exploration. In the years that followed many of the tailings were worked and reworked to squeeze every last bit of silver ore from the huge piles of rock which early mining operations had removed from the mines during the original explora- tion and processing. In the early 1940s, Berlin's mill was stripped of ever), bit of valuable and reclaimable scrap metal and machinery for the war effort. The next few decades saw the remains of Berlin standing empty and desolate. Fortunately, how- ever, a caretaker for the original mining company pro- tected the buildings from destruction by souvenir hunte, which is why the site is so well preserved today. In the early 1970s the town site was acquired by the Nevada Division of State Parks, which worked to preserve the remaining buildings in a "state of arrested decay." Buildings which remain standing include a large and impressive wood ore mill, ore cart tracks which lead to the mines, the old assay office, the blacksmith shop, and several of the old miner's homes. THE FOSSILS: In the mid-1930s, archaeologists had discovered fossil rib bones of the ancient ichthyosaur close to the town site. Today this site, the Berlin-Ichthyo- saur State Park which is located 2 miles south of Berlin, contains a partially excavated digging containing an as- semblage of nine ichthyosaurs and a campground. Ichthyosaurs were large sea-going fish like reptiles which roamed the oceans covering Nevada during the Mesozoic era, about 225 million years ago. This remote park contains the most complete, best preserved, and largest ichthyosaurs in all of North America. The largest fossil at the park is almost 35 feet long. Scientific extrapo- lation, however, indicates this species probably grew as large as 50 feet in length. While dinosaurs ruled the land, ichthyosaurs shared the marine reptiles, the plesiosaurs and mosasaurs. The earli- est ichthyosaurs had long, flexible bodies and probably swam by undulating, like eels. The more advanced ich- thyosaurs, such as those found at the Berlin site, had compact, very fishlike bodies with crescent-shaped tails. The general shape of these ichthyosaurs is like that of living porpoises, tunas or mackerels, which are among the fastest fish in the ocean. These fish were built for speed. The animal's four paddle like fins, which they used for swimming, had the same basic plan as your hand and arm, but the arm bones were very short. Ichthyosaurs are believed to have roamed about in large schools of 30 to 40 animals, similar to the pods of whales which now roam our oceans. Studies of their streamlined, fishlike bodies make it seem almost certain that ichthyosaurs never left the water, yet they still breathed air and lacked gills, very similar to modern whales. Nevada State Park personnel offer discussions of the fossilization process, the physical structure as revealed by photomicrographs, and studies of mineral composition, chemical composition, and analytical techniques used by archaeologists. The enclosed and air-conditioned exhibit also includes a large piece of the ichthyosaur fossil itself, which can be picked up and examined by the public. Although numerous ichthyosaur localities are known around the world, the Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park con- tains one of the only partial excavations where the bones have been left in the rock in their original configuration. The ichthyosaur was designated in 1977 as the state fossil on the recommendation of Professor James R. Firby, Associate Professor of Geology with the MacKay School of Mines. Since Nevada is the only state to possess a complete skeleton of this extinct marine animal, it is only fitting that it be recognized as the state fossil. DIRECTIONS: This extremely unusual and remote Nevada State Park is open for tours from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend each year. There is a $3.00 entrance fee and tours are conducted daily at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The park is certainly a rewarding experience for anyone with geological interests and the town of Berlin provides a well-preserved look at some of Nevada's glorious mining past. Information about tours can be acquired by calling the park at (702) 964-2440. To get to this fascinating ghost town and state fossil site, which is about 270 miles north of Pahrump, take US 95 five miles past Tonopah to the junction of SR 89. Then travel north on SR 89 some 65 miles to SR 361. Continue north on SR 361 past Gabbs to SR 844 (approx. 6 miles) and follow SR 844 east through Toiyabe's Paradise Range and across Brunton Pass to the entrance of Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park and the ghost town of Berlin, Nev. The last 15 miles of this road is a weU-maintained dirt road, passable by all vehicles. Fishing Report by Geoff Sehneider Nevada Division of Wildlife LAKE MEAD -,Striped bass fishing continues to improve while the action for largemouth bass is getting more difficult by the day, according to the Nevada Division of Wildlife. Boaters are faring better than shore anglers for stripers as the fish are generally being found feeding in open water, The fish have been slurping small thrcadfin shad on the lake's surface. Some of the better success is being found in open water from Pyramid Island to the Hemenway Wall. Schools of stripers are roaming the area and can be caught throughout the day. Excellent action is also being found at night around the water intake tower near Lake Mead Marina. Cut anchovies are the ticket for catching the fish. The largernouth bass fishing is in the summer doldrums as the fish have taken to the cool confines found in deep water. Channel catfish are being caught during the evening and early morning hours in shallow coves. LAKE MOHAVE - The lake's big news continues to be the fine fishing for rainbow trout that is taking place above Willow Beach. A pair of boaters reported catching 15 rainbows late last week while trolling flatfish lures, Boaters are also reporting they are connecting with trout by drifting and casting spinners toward shore. There is a l0 trout limit at the lake. Striped bass fishing is still slow around Willow Beach. However, small stripers are being caught by boaters who are trolling the area immediately south of the north power lines near Cottonwood Cove. On Saturday 18 anglers competing in a Southern Nevada Bassmasters fishing toumanmnt caught 30 largemouth bass. The largest fish weighed nearly 4 1/2 pounds. WAYNE E. KIRCH WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA -- Largemouth bass fishing is reported to be good at Adams-McGill Reser- voir while trout fishing has only been fair to poor. Anglers fishing in small boats and float tubes report catching bass with surface lures and worms with weedless hooks. Bass must be a minimum of 10 inches before they can be kept. EAGLE VALLEY RESERVOIR - Rainbow trout fishing has been fair to good in the early morning and late aft_emoon hours, but slow during the mid-day hours. Weed growth in the lake is causing problems for anglers, ECHO CANYON RESERVOIR - Fishing has been slow for rainbow trout and crappie, Fair success is being found for small large- mouth bass, The water level is low and aquatic vegetation in the lake is hampering the fishing. SCtIROEDER RESERVOIR -. Rainbow trout fishing has gener- ally been slow in the lake. Limited action is taking place early mornings and evenings.