The highways of Nevada tend to follow valleys. They seem to stretch on endlessly across monotonous land, and many travelers continue towards their final destinations without stopping.
Beyond those flatlands dotted with sagebrush and rabbitbrush, interesting sights beckon. One such place is Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park, located 18 southeast of Ely in eastern Nevada.
The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group. It is a place to note of any observations you have made of the world around you. Rain, sun, wind...insects, birds, flowers...meteorites, rocks...seasonal changes...all are worthy additions to the bucket. Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment. Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.Prospectors discovered silver ore nearby in 1872. Three years later, Martin & White Company from California purchased some of the mining claims and built smelters. High quality charcoal improved the smelting process, and the company hired Italian stone masons to construct six huge ovens.
Instead of writing a lengthy description, I will take the lazy way out and add pictures of two markers located on the site.
Each filling of one of these ovens required the total tree crop from 5 or 6 acres of land. During the late 1870s the hills and mountains around many mining camps were completely stripped of all timber for a radius of up to 35 miles.When you consider how many mining towns sprang up across the West in the last half on the nineteenth century, the cleared forests represented an enormous part of the landscape. Wildfires took an additional toll on the slow-growing trees. As the decades passed and the mining camps faded into oblivion, the juniper and pinyon forests grew back. Looking over the area today, it's difficult to imagine how the land appeared in 1880.
Humans have long been capable of altering landscapes on a big scale in a short span of time. Nature, given a longer span of time, can recover.
The six charcoal ovens, with Wheeler Peak (13,063 feet) in the distance.
"Green Diary Rescue" is Back!
After a hiatus of over 1 1/2 years, Meteor Blades has revived his excellent series. As MB explained, this weekly diary is a "round-up with excerpts and links... of the hard work so many Kossacks put into bringing matters of environmental concern to the community... I'll be starting out with some commentary of my own on an issue related to the environment, a word I take in its broadest meaning."
"Green Diary Rescue" will be posted every Saturday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time on the Daily Kos front page. Be sure to recommend and comment in the diary.