Sunday, June 24, 2012


 Check out more photos of the Snake Valley Festival here.

And photos of the Great Basin National Park Diptera BioBlitz are available here.

Still lots more great summer events coming in Snake Valley! See the calendar to the right for the latest.

Monday, June 18, 2012

North Schell Fire

Smoke is traveling over Snake Valley, and we had a chance to look at the source on the way to Ely.

Here's a view coming down off Sacramento Pass down towards Spring Valley:

With yesterday's high winds (red-flag warning, in fact) and hot temperatures (95 in Baker), the fire really cooked.

When I looked up the fire last night, it said it was 2,500 acres. I knew there would be an update by this morning, and the new number is 22,400 acres.

Here's the incident overview as of 6/18/12:

Incident Overview

Firefighters continue to battle the approximately 22,000-acre North Schell Fire that is burning on Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and privately-owned lands on the east side of the Schell Mountain Range, about 20 miles north of Ely, Nev.

The fire is burning in steep, rugged terrain and consuming white fir, mountain mahogany, pinion-pine, juniper, sagebrush and grasses. One structure, a mobile home, has burned. The occupant evacuated without injury. Public and firefighter safety, and protection of sage grouse and mule deer winter habitat, and private property are the top priority.

State Route 893 between U.S. Highway 50 and Schellbourne Pass, and Kalamazoo Road remain closed until further notice due to the increase in fire vehicle traffic. The public is encouraged to stay out of the fire area.

The Troy Phelps Type III Incident Management Team is scheduled at 6 a.m., Monday, June 18, to take over management of the fire.

The North Schell Fire began Saturday, June 9, as a Forest Service prescribed burn north of Kalamazoo Road.

You can get more info and all the updates at:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fun this weekend

You can tell there's something exciting coming to town! The signs are up, more people are around. Stay tuned for more...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fun Upcoming Events

June is turning out to be a busy month!

Here are some events in Snake Valley you don't want to miss!

June 14-16 Astronomy Festival, Great Basin National Park

The Astronomy Festival is expected to attract hundreds of night sky enthusiasts. Many telescopes will be available each night, along with several programs during the day. Click on the link above for the schedule.

June 15-17 Snake Valley Festival
Running concurrent with the astronomy festival is the Snake Valley Festival, with a huge variety of events over the weekend. If you've always wanted to be in a parade, this is your chance. If you want to get your friends and family wet, show up at the massive water fight. Lots of great food and drink, awesome entertainment, and fantastic things to buy at the yard sale, book sale, booths, silent auction, and live auction!

Ready to help make a difference in your national park? Join entomologists and park staff in the fourth annual BioBlitz. This year's BioBlitz focuses on flies, and over a 48-hour collecting period, it's hoped that the park list will be greatly expanded. It's also possible to find a fly that no one has ever seen before--one new to science. Special programs will be held during the event so you can learn more about these fascinating tiny creatures.
Hope you can make it to some or all these events!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Transit of Venus Today

This afternoon you can witness an event that won't happen again for another 105 years: the Transit of Venus. Basically this is when the planet Venus passes in front of the sun. I got to see it in 2004, when it last happened (it generally happens in pairs, 8 years apart, and then not again for over a century). Quite frankly, seeing a little dot in front of the sun (with a special sun scope to protect the eyes) isn't that exciting. But seeing that little dot in a different place half an hour or an hour later makes you realize that there is something different going on.

One of the coolest things about the Transit of Venus is the history of it. This is only the eighth time it's happened since the telescope has been invented. Early astronomers were able to learn lots about the solar system during previous Transits of Venus.

In Snake Valley in 1882 observations were made from Ab Lehman's ranch by William Eimbeck and others who were assisting with the heliograph station up on Wheeler Peak, which was part of a survey to make an accurate map of the West along the 39th parallel.

Something else to think about during today's Transit of Venus is that a planet crossing in front of a star is how astronomers are finding planets out in the universe. The amount of light the sun emits is slightly reduced (very slightly), letting astronomers know that there is something else out there. In far off galaxies they don't know the characteristics of that planet, but that will come later, right?

To learn more about the sun, Venus, and much, much more, head to the Great Basin Visitor Center this afternoon. The telescopes will be out at 3 p.m. The transit takes seven hours, ending after dark here, so you have a little leeway in when you go see the Transit. But take the time to look (being sure not to look at the sun without proper protection). Unless you plan on being around in 2117, this may be your only chance to see this!