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 Mormon Mountains region is a land of mountain ranges and canyons that offer colorful geology, majestic wildlife, amazing archaeological sites and beautiful country where one can escape city life. From rolling bajadas speckled with cholla, yucca and Joshua trees, to intricately carved canyons forested with pinyon pine and juniper, and jagged mountain peaks topped with stands of old-growth ponderosa pine, each landscape contains inspiring beauty and jaw-dropping surprises.
This wilderness is a component of the Bureau of Land Management's National Conservation Lands.
Flora & Fauna
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, pygmy agave, desert banded gecko, several rattlesnake species 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.
Throughout the Mormon Mountains region are some of the most amazing and valuable prehistoric sites in Nevada. In these areas are literally thousands of archaeological sites that offer telling glimpses into the lives of people who lived in the area hundreds and thousands of years ago. The explorer might find petroglyphs, pictographs, agave roasting pits, prehistoric camp sites, rock shelters, grinding stones and other evidence of past lives in the area. Unfortunately, rock art and other sensitive cultural resources have been defaced or destroyed by selfish or simply ignorant visitors. These areas are important to the Native Americans living in the area today, such as the Moapa Band of Paiutes.
Wilderness designation protects in face of development
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 areas. 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 in wilderness areas of the Mormon Mountains region.