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October 18, 2017

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Press Release

Red Rock Canyon History in Full Color

Published on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 (3:46 p.m.)

Think you could start a building-stone quarry within Red Rock Canyon today? Well, that’s what Tilgham Rhea did a little over 50 years ago. Want to build a house and live in picturesque Pine Creek Canyon. It’s been done before. What was it like driving a heard of livestock through Red Rock Canyon on the Old Spanish Trail? How did Spring Mountain Ranch come about? Why is Blue Diamond called Blue Diamond? Are you sure that Rain Man was filmed in Red Rock?
“There is a rich and colorful history at Red Rock Canyon,” says Tom Moulin, author of the new guidebook Red Rock Canyon Visitor Guide. “For example, in the 1920s, multiple bootlegging outfits set up operations near springs at Red Rock Canyon. They used the water to make the mash and wood to fire the stills then sold the hooch to downtown speakeasies for a handsome profit. At Indian Springs, they were pumping out 225 gallons of liquor a day!”
Moulin has compiled a wealth of information on the goings-ons of one of southern Nevada’s most cherished outdoor destinations. He describes stories of fur trappers and horse thieves holed up at today’s Spring Mountain Ranch, shoestring mining operations trying to make a buck, and ranchers ranging ten-thousand head of sheep in the Spring Mountains. “Another interesting historical event parallels the housing-development saga of today on Blue Diamond Hill: In the late 70s, the BLM, despite a passionate outcry from concerned citizens, allowed leasing and exploratory oil well drilling on some of the land within what has become the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Thankfully none of the prospective wells were drilled.”
The Red Rock Canyon Visitor Guide brings to life the fascinating history of Red Rock from early geologic events, through its use by Native Americans, to the arrival of Euro-Americans; their trails, mines, ranches, homesteads, films, and efforts to protect the special treasure we have in our backyard. In addition to the extensive history section, the guidebook describes the common and conspicuous plants and animals of the area and tells of the best hikes, sightseeing, and things to do while at Red Rock Canyon.
“The book is a great starting point for learning about Red Rock,” says Moulin “but there are still many significant historical questions left to answer.” Two organizations are actively researching these questions: The Friends of Red Rock Canyon ( and the Archaeo-Nevada Society ( Both are actively seeking volunteers to help with Red Rock Canyon conservation projects.
The Red Rock Canyon Visitor Guide is $19.00 and can be ordered from

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