In a city filled with palms and desert landscape, the grass lawn, pond and cottonwood tree-filled Floyd Lamb Park might look a little out of place in the Mojave metropolis of Las Vegas.
However, this oasis has been popular for literally thousands of years.
Today, the expansive park has four stocked ponds, picnic areas, barbecues, scenic paths and volleyball and horseshoe facilities on 2,040 acres in northwest Las Vegas. Visitors will come face to face with beautiful peacocks, ducks and geese. Those with a Nevada fishing license can fish in any of the park's ponds but are limited to three fish per person.
Visitors can also explore Tule Springs Ranch, one of the best examples of Pleistocene paleontologic sites in western North America. Tule Springs was visited by large prehistoric mammals in an era when the southern Nevada area was much cooler and wetter. Fossil remains of extinct mammoths, bison, horses, camels, giant sloths and other animals have been found in Tule Springs.
Later Tule Springs served as a watering hole for Indians and prospectors who traveled across Nevada. In 1916, John Herbert (Bert) Nay was the first non-Indian to file for water rights. As he acquired more property at Tule Springs, he built a blacksmith shop and a storage room.
Nay sold his interest in the farm in 1928 when he moved to California. The property remained vacant until prospector Jacob Goumond purchased the land to be a private retreat for his friends. He took advantage of Nevada's changing divorce laws and set up a dude ranch for prospective divorcees. The guests would wait out the six-week residency requirement to file papers. This was the shortest waiting period in the country. The ranch became a resort area and was glamorized by divorce-minded movie stars.
Tule Springs also was a self-supporting ranch. One hundred acres was set aside for alfalfa and cattle; other animals were raised and sold, as well as several vegetable varieties. Its many functional wooded buildings still exist.
Goumond's granddaughter inherited the ranch when he died in 1954. She sold it to a group of businessmen who formed the Tule Springs Investment Company. They leased out the ranch until the city of Las Vegas bought it in 1964. It was converted into a city park and renamed in honor of state Sen. Floyd Lamb.
Floyd Lamb is a pleasant and pretty place to throw out a picnic blanket or reel in a rainbow trout.