The gentleman loves picnics, so a week ago the gentleman and I made another picnic trek, this time to the northwest part of the Las Vegas Valley to Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs. We were told that the 2040-acre Centennial Hills park is, among other things, home to four lakes.
We entered the park, again using a Golden Age Passport to skip a $6 per vehicle fee. We drove around seeing fields of grass, formal pavilions and plenty of barbecue grills. We chose a beach site with a grill, a great view and a ground decorated with beautiful exposed tree roots making their own modern art. (I didn’t know which lake we were viewing but it was lovely.)
Incidentally, we were also within walking distance of a restroom, something “mature” folks like to have handy. We set up our picnic not far from a family who was fishing in the lake (without any fish). A rather large barbecue setup was available for our use. We had brought wood chips, starter fluid, two chairs, water and food to cook.
Our meal was pork steaks and hot dogs which were glorious. We were observed by bunches of ducks which are quite familiar with picnickers. As soon as a group across the lake started to toss bread crumbs in the lake (a definite no-no according to signs in the area), every one of the ducks (and there were a lot of ’em) headed in that direction.
While enjoying the weather and the view, I wondered about the lake — full up to the brim and yet we had seen so many dry creek beds of late. Google had the answer: “Dummy, the springs feed the lake from below!” Oh yes.
But while I was googling I found out more about our destination:
Indian populations made use of the springs on their seasonal travels. The first non-Indian owner in the area was recorded in 1916; three years later, he had 10 acres under cultivation. The ranch was sold and remained vacant for a while until a man named Prosper Jacob “PJ” Goumond began carving a working ranch out of the desert wilderness.
Gourmond established a dude ranch (swimming pool, tennis courts, etc.) for folks wanting a Nevada residence prior to obtaining a quick divorce. Later the area was acquired by the City of Las Vegas, transferred to the State of Nevada and re-transferred back to the City of Las Vegas. Reservations for pavilion sites at Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs are available from the City of Las Vegas Reservations site.
“Tule” springs was named after Tules” or cattails seen in the area. The park itself was named after state senator Floyd Lamb who, the histories proclaim, was convicted of taking a $23,000 bribe from an undercover FBI agent in 1983, but his name remained.”
Way before the ranch and the Indians, the area was cooler and wetter than it is today and was home to large mammals similar to those in Africa today: mammoths, bison, horses, camels and giant sloths.
“The Springs is known in the scientific world as one of the best examples of Pleistocene paleontologic sites in Western North America.”
(Big words but I think they mean places where the mammoths lived and where fossils are found.)
The Floyd Lamb Park today includes the Tule Springs Ranch, the Tule Springs Archeological Site, Tule Springs Wash and four ponds available for fishing. It is also adjacent to the Tule Springs Fossil Beds administered by the National Park Service.
Floyd Lamb Park is also home to The Las Vegas Highland Games. Bagpipes by the hundreds will be on-hand starting on April 9th, 2022. Add in caber-tossing, and the other heavy athletics and it is a weekend not to be missed!