The History of the Great Basin National Park

The History of the Great Basin National Park
The Great Basin is a unique desert region of the United States, where all rainwater and snowmelt is absorbed locally, never reaching the Pacific Ocean or the Gulf of California. The national park is located in eastern Nevada near the town of Ely.

American Indians

Over the last 700 years, this small corner of the southwest has been inhabited by Shoshone and Paiute Indians. These people lived in small family groups and subsisted on hunting and gathering wild crops like the pine pinyon nut.


1872 marked the year that gold was discovered in the immediate area. A few years later bigger strikes were found and for about 20 years the precious metal was removed in substantial quantities.


After the mining started to subside, a few hearty ranching families settled in the area. They were still taking their livestock into the mountains for summer grazing, when the park was officially designated in 1986 and continued to do so after the park was open.


In 1986, Congress established the park and President Ronald Reagan signed the legislation into law, thus creating one of America's newest national parks.

Mt. Wheeler

Big attractions at the park are 13,063 Wheeler Peak, which is snow-covered for much of the year and the Lehman cave system. There is also a visitor center and several rustic campgrounds available for campers.

Article Written By Henri Bauholz

Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.

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