Wilderness Area Status
Designated Wilderness Area
Year Designated: 2004
Act or Law: Lincoln County Conservation, Recreation and Development Act of 2004
State Region: Eastern Nevada
County Regions: Lincoln
Managing Agency: Bureau of Land Management
Local District: Ely Field Office
Contact Info: (775) 289-1800
702 North Industrial Way HC 33 Box 33500 Ely, NV89301
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The Meadow Valley Wilderness is a land of rolling bajadas speckled with cholla, yucca and Joshua trees. It is also a land of intricately carved canyons forested with pinyon pine and juniper that is topped off by jagged mountain peaks. Each contains inspiring beauty and jaw-dropping surprises. Conical volcanic- tuff based Sunflower Mountain sits astride the main ridgeline. A natural arch endures in the northern part.
This wilderness is a component of the Bureau of Land Management's National Conservation Lands.
The various climates and elevations in these areas provide important habitat for a wide spectrum of wildlife. The low elevations provide crucial habitat for the desert tortoise, the banded Gila monster, the white bearpoppy, desert banded gecko, Great Basin and speckled rattlesnakes, and the long-nosed leopard lizard. Higher in the mountains, its possible to spot desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, bobcat and mountain lion. An impressive variety of raptors live in the area. Burrowing owl, golden eagle, ferruginous hawk, red-tailed hawk, prairie falcon, Coopers hawk, northern harrier, merlin and American kestrel are some of the birds of prey that have been spotted in the region.
The long ridgeline offers many peaks, narrow canyons and passes to explore. Sunflower Mountain makes a focal point, with a color and texture markedly contrasting with the surrounding terrain. Grapevine Spring on the west end is a hiking destination. On the east side, Hackberry and Vigo Canyons make good dayhiking areas. Backpackers will find numerous loops and through routes. Rock scrambling terrain abounds. On the east side access to Meadow Valley Wash is currently (2007) restricted by the Union Pacific Railroad
These wild areas might soon become the backyard for the third-largest city in Nevada. Developers have proposed building a city in Coyote Springs Valley, which is surrounded by wilderness and wilderness-quality lands. The area has also been designated as critical habitat for the threatened desert tortoise. The Coyote Springs development could bring 150,000 residents and 10 golf courses to a small, environmentally sensitive area, increasing the risk of indiscriminate off-road vehicle use, litter and archaeological vandalism. Now that several areas are wilderness, we can make sure they, at least, are managed to allow responsible visitation with minimum environmental impact.