Ellie Lee 12th Grade West Career and Technical Academy
“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”
When thinking of Las Vegas, the first things that come to mind are the ka-ching of slot machines, numerous poker chips being thrown, and the flashy neon lights shining from the Las Vegas Strip. After all, when raucous groups of people leave this city satisfied with the plethora of available entertainment, Las Vegas certainly lives up to its reputation as “Sin City.” But amid all this hubbub, there lies a natural beauty in the west that remains aloof from Las Vegas’s debauchery.
Standing at a height of 11,916 feet, the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area (lovingly called “Mount Charleston” by locals) offers a cool retreat when the scorching heat of the desert becomes too intense. This area continues to thrive with the help of the Southern Nevada Conservancy (SNC). As a non-profit organization based in Las Vegas, Nevada, the SNC educates the public about Mount Charleston through cooperating with the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service and creating programs such as Go Mt. Charleston. While providing multitudes of beautiful trails and picnic areas to enjoy during quiet afternoons and mornings, it is truly a wonder that Mount Charleston remains a location that is unknown to many tourists.
Additionally, halfway up this mountain, the Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway also contains an excellent non-profit souvenir shop in addition to an interactive facility to foster public knowledge. Recently developed, this building is tastefully designed to blend in with the surrounding environment. Moreover, the Visitor Gateway uses the surrounding nature to extend volunteering opportunities and educational events for children and families.
As Rosa Prasser, the Educational Program Manager/Interpretive Naturalist at the SNC for Mount Charleston, states,
“A variety of educational programs and special events are available for all ages to learn more about the natural and cultural history of Mount Charleston. We offer these events in the hope of helping people understand the importance of protecting this area so that future generations can enjoy this beautiful mountain.”
Upcoming events can be directly viewed from Go Mt. Charleston’s website: https://www.gomtcharleston.com/event-calendar/
So the next time you decide to visit Las Vegas, feel free to stop by, learn more, and enjoy nature in your own way at “Sin City’s” hidden gem: Mount Charleston.
<Ellie Lee 12th Grade West Career and Technical Academy