NevadaGram #222 – Bighorn Sheep Reintroduced at Pyramid Lake

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by Kalen Goodluck/High Country News

Helicopter delivering Bighorn sheep to Pyramid Lake Reservation
Bighorn sheep enroute to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Reservation, returning to land that was once a part of the critter’s historic habitat.

The day began early for the crew of scientists, state and tribal officials — long before the sun rose across the snow-covered sagebrush. “How many are you going to give us?” asked Alan Mandell, vice chairman of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. “Twenty to 25,” said a biologist, rubbing his palms together in the cold. “That’s a great start,” Mandell said, smiling.

All fell silent as a helicopter approached from the horizon above Nevada’s snowy Sheep Creek Range. “We have four,” crackled a voice over the radio. In the distance, the payload dangled in slings from the chopper’s haul: California bighorn sheep, carefully blindfolded.  Emily Hagler, biologist and wetlands environmental specialist for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, stood back and watched the first one touch down in a swirl of snow. Teams rushed to the site, weighed the bighorns and placed them on tables for medical examinations.

It’s finally happening, Hagler thought, eyeing the bighorns. After decades of on-and-off negotiations between state and tribal agencies and time spent seeking grant funding as well as gathering tribal council and community support, the bighorns were coming home.

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Pyramid Lake Bighorn Sheep


Keep It In Mind: Time is the fairest and toughest judge.


Editor’s Choice —Desert Companion

Nevada’s Last Sheepherder

by John M. Glionna

The mid-April storm descends on the North Spring Valley at dusk, the snow sticking to the ground and to the backs of Hank Vogler’s sheep. Hank VoglerIt’s the height of harvest season, when the teams of itinerant, Spanish-speaking shearers move in to help the veteran rancher cull another year of wool from his flock of 10,000, and this sudden turn in the weather feels ominous.

The sheep are annoyed at their lot, especially the ones just relieved of their warm coats. They bleat and bawl, huddling in groups to conserve heat. A few older ones have already died of stress, their bodies stiffening in the snow, and a look of concern flashes across the old sheepherder’s face.

The 70-year-old Vogler is behind the wheel of a pay-loader, dropping bales of hay that are distributed by workers, who keep the sheep moving in large circles in the open field. In the fading light, the animals resemble large armies forging across the landscape, as though positioning themselves for the battle ahead. Thousands have already been sheared; more will have their turn come morning. Right now, that seems a long time away.

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In the quiet Las Vegas Arts District, a craft beer scene is brewing. Cheers!

by David Klein

Craft Beer in Las VegasThe Arts District, a low-frills buffer between the Las Vegas Strip and Fremont Street, attracts tourists and locals looking for fun in a place devoid of pedestrian congestion, flashing lights and slot machine cacophony.

The rapidly evolving mile-long stretch of Main Street is dotted with cocktail bars, most notably quirky neighborhood trailblazer Velveteen Rabbit, but beer is the headliner here. With multiple suds-specific spots within walking distance, there’s no better place to experience the Vegas craft beer scene.

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New Clown Motel Owners Carrying On its Legacy

by Daria Sokolova

Clown Motel lobby Tonopah NevadaHame Anand has been collecting clowns for a while. His big moment came when he purchased the famous Clown Motel in Tonopah in April of 2019.

Anand, a native of India, worked as an art director and commercial photographer for advertising agencies in New Delhi, India. He moved to the United States in 2009 to pursue a master’s degree in integrated media communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After he graduated, he said his family, who had owned two motels in Las Vegas encouraged him to join the family business, however, he resisted for a while, saying that motel business was not his “forte.”

Still, he started helping his family to run the business on weekends when he was off work at his regular job at Amazon. Anand said his brother was impressed with his skills and suggested buying a motel.

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Overheard at Artisan Café in Carson City “I think you know that we’d already be using solar energy in a serious way if the oil industry owned the sun.


5 Years Ago in the NevadaGram

Haul truck in pit accident

Storey County is an interesting specimen in the governmental petri dish we call Nevada. At its north end, the county is all aglow at the arrival of the Tesla electric battery megafactory, thanking its lucky stars, clicking its heels, rubbing its hands with glee and gazing rapturously into a gleaming, golden future.

What a contrast with its inflamed south end, where an inept group of locally unpopular “miners” (dba Comstock Mining Inc.) is tearing up the landscape in a desperate and unprofitable attempt to relive the past. The company has been a constant source of disruption and irritation as it intrudes into the quiet communities of Gold Hill and Silver City, depressing real estate values and destroying the Virginia City National Historic Landmark, which it is digging up and hauling away to the leach pads, truckload by truckload, day in, day out.

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Overheard at the El Aguila Real in Battle MountainI used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body, Charlie. Then I realized who was telling me this.”

10 Years Ago in the NevadaGram

We have been to Bullhead City Arizona, to Wendover Utah and Markleeville California among other across-the-line destinations, and we consider Lake Tahoe our lake, even though two-thirds of it is in California. This time, though, we left Nevada behind and went all the way to San FranciscoCliff House, San Francoisco — our first report on a voyage out of state.

On Saturday morning we met at Louie’s at Land’s End for a farewell breakfast. Along with the pancakes, our waitress brought us news of the earthquake in Chile, and that a tsunami warning had been issued for the California coast.

Immediately we sprang into action. Robin and I ran our last-minute errands in the city while the girls ambled down to the Cliff House — another iconic relic of the old city — and claimed a table with a magnificent ocean view. When we rejoined them the tsunami was imminent.

We waited and we waited. There were at least 50 people down at sea level wandering the ruins of the old swimming pools, and a hundred or more in the water or on the sand at Ocean Beach to the south. But there was no tsunami and not one single person got swept away before our eyes.

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15 Years Ago in the NevadaGram

“In 1947, my parents and I moved to Eureka. I was 9 years old. We lived in ugly green trailers on a hill at the Ruby Hill Mine. I recently gave a speech about my year there. I titled it “Angel on My Shoulder . . . Eureka NevadaThe Year I Was A Boy”. I was allowed to wear jeans and striped t-shirts. If it weren’t for the long hair, no one would have known I was a girl.

“I recall a deserted Chinese section of town, an old corral with many old horse buggies, 13 bars, three grocery stores, a drugstore run by “Lefty”. A hardware mercantile store. The Opera house was used as a movie theater a couple nights a week and I remember entering a talent show and dancing on the stage.

“I went to the fourth grade at the one school house that also accommodated students up to the 12th grade. And, I really did walk to school in the snow! One day our class was allowed to visit a woman that lived near the school. She was celebrating her 100th birthday which would make her birth year 1847. That is an odd link to the 21st century, but never-the-less a link.”

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Parting Shot —

Anyone who has endured long — not to say interminable — hours in Nevada History class might wonder how that experience could possibly translate into a Burlesque show. But this isn’t high school, it’s Harveys Tahoe on a Saturday night. And the history — touching on the Donner Party, Gambling, Divorce, the Mob, and Area 51 — is set to music, with pretty girls dance-dance-dancing, a guy in a Lieutenant Dangle uniform doing rope tricks, and cocktail service.

The Nevada Show plays at Harveys Lake Tahoe through April 24th. Producer Madeline Feldman says “You’ll blush, laugh, and maybe even become a more educated and charming person.”

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