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Valley of Fire building new visitor center

Updated April 24, 2024 - 12:11 am

Valley of Fire State Park is building a new visitor center, which is slated to open in the fall of 2025.

The Nevada Division of State Parks broke ground Monday on the new visitor center, which will feature “state of the art” exhibits that explain the cultural and geological history of the park.

The center also will replicate the park’s slot canyons and other landscapes, and include a larger gift shop and outdoor amphitheater that can seat up to 200 guests, the agency said in a news release.

“The new Valley of Fire Visitor Center will serve as a gateway to the park, providing visitors with enhanced opportunities to connect with the natural beauty and rich history of this unique landscape,” Bob Mergell, administrator for the Nevada Division of State Parks, said in a statement.

When Valley of Fire, Nevada’s first state park, opened in the mid-1930s, it saw 9,000 visitors during its first year. Its current visitor center opened in 1969 and was remodeled in the 1980s when the park saw fewer visitors than today, park interpreter Kayla Wolfe said in a news release.

With the park’s visitation growing from 450,000 guests to 750,000 guests annually between 2011 and 2021, Nevada State Parks said a new center was needed to accommodate issues with overcrowding during peak seasons at the old center, included limited parking options and restrooms.

Last year, Valley of Fire became the first state park to implement the Reserve Nevada system for purchasing day-use passes and annual permits, reserving campsites and cabins to help address overcrowding issues.

The new visitor center is being built with funds from the Helmsley Charitable Trust, which granted $7 million for the project, Nevada State Parks said. The trust also contributed $3.5 million to the new Ice Age Fossils State Park, which opened in January.

Construction on the new visitor center is expected to cause traffic delays in the park between the Beehives Trailhead and Petrified Logs Trailhead.

“Over the coming year, our dedicated teams will be working tirelessly to create something truly extraordinary for one of Nevada’s most beloved destinations,” Park Supervisor Randy Denter said in a statement. “As construction is underway, we will do everything we can to make sure visitor experiences will not be disrupted.”

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