The site of a former mining camp could attract a different kind of crowd this week. Bureau of Land Management officials invite the public to a sit-down lecture and a walking tour of the site during this Saturday’s grand opening of the Porter Springs Recreation Area north of Lovelock.
“The BLM Humboldt River Field Office is pleased to announce the grand opening of the Porter Springs Recreation Area and we’re hoping you can come,” said Peggy McGuckian, AFM (Administrative & Financial Management) Cultural, Lands & Recreation for the BLM. There will be a presentation followed by a tour of the site guided by BLM officials and “other partners.”
“There will also be activities for children led by Nevada Outdoor School,” McGuckian said.
Porter Springs is a classic oasis. From a distance, it’s a patch of green that contrasts with the surrounding desert valley. Year-round springs support large trees and grassy meadows. BLM photographs of the site feature a golden eagle, wild “pinto” or “paint” burros and a rare kitfox.
A squatter was evicted years ago and his trash is long gone after a Porter Springs cleanup project was initiated by the BLM. According to the Elko Daily Free Press, tons of garbage, abandoned trailers and vehicles were removed after the “trespass occupation” was resolved.
Before that, miners lived at Porter Springs and milled tungsten from a nearby mine.
The oasis attracts hunters, campers and bird watchers with 130 bird species, including “neo-tropical” migratory birds, observed by members of the National Audubon Society.
Porter Springs has been studied for years by the BLM including the bird habitat, hydrology, vegetation and wildlife. The site was fenced, gated and signed to protect it from vehicles, burros and livestock but the gate needed replacement after it was torn down by last year. The BLM is looking for help from the public to protect the “small but beautiful jewel in the desert.”
“The site offers opportunities for bird watching, hiking, camping, picnicking, wildlife and burro viewing,” said David Kampwerth, Field Manager for the Humboldt River Field Office. “We are looking forward to sharing this new recreation area with the public and are seeking volunteers and partners to help us take care of and improve this site in the future.”
The event is scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 28. To reach the site from Lovelock, go north on Main Street, right on Central Avenue, left on Pitt Road, left on Seven Troughs Road and follow the signs to Porter Springs. The site is about 31 miles north of Lovelock and, unless there’s snow or rain, the roads are reportedly good for small vehicles.
Be prepared for a lecture followed by a guided “exploration” on foot courtesy of the BLM.
“Seating is limited so please bring a folding chair, if possible,” McGuckian said. ”Hope to see you there!”