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Snake Valley (Great Basin): Wikis


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Sheep grazing in southern Snake Valley

Snake Valley is a north-south trending valley that straddles the Nevada Utah border in the central Great Basin. It is bound by the Snake Range and the Deep Creek Mountains to the west and the Confusion Range to the east. The valley is the gateway to Great Basin National Park and Lehman Caves, which is located in the western part of the valley and on the southern Snake Range.



Though it is relatively isolated from civilization today, the human presence in Snake Valley goes back 12,000 years.[1] The oldest accessible evidence of this is the Baker Archeological Site,[2] a Fremont culture habitat maintained by the BLM. Current towns in the valley include Baker, Nevada (home to the Great Basin National Park Headquarters), Garrison, Utah, Burbank, Utah, EskDale, Utah, Callao, Utah, Partoun, Utah, Trout Creek, Utah, Gandy, Utah, and "Border, Utah", a community around a rest stop built across the Utah-Nevada state line called the Border Inn, along US Highway 6/US Highway 50. Today, the main industries in the valley are farming and ranching, especially sheep ranching.


Snake Valley is noted for a water project involving the Las Vegas metropolitan area,[3] that would target the underlying Basin and Range Carbonate Aquifer, an aquifer that supplies local agriculture and is a relatively large source of water for such an arid region. The project is proposed by SNWA, the water authority that services the Las Vegas metropolitan area. In the proposal, a pipeline would be built from Snake Valley (and Spring Valley) to supply pumped groundwater to be used as municipal water for the Clark County, Nevada region, with amounts ranging up to 137,000 acre-feet per year.[4] Local ranchers and environmentalists have objected to this removal of water from local aquifers,[5] comparing the situation to Owens Valley, California and noting local drawdowns and springs drying up just from local agricultural pumping, like at Needle Point Springs.[6] Enhanced demand on the water from locals and enhanced hydrogeologic monitoring have occurred as a result of this proposal, including the USGS's BARCASS study[7] and the Utah Geological Survey's Snake Valley Groundwater Monitoring Program.[8] Both studies have looked at the idea that precipitation in the high mountains of the Snake Range and Schell Creek Range are the source of the far away but anomalously large springs at Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge.


External links

Protect Snake Valley Blog
An NPR story on water issues in Snake Valley and Las Vegas



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