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Historical Range of Nevada's Nut Pines (Documented Forest Range of Pinus Monophylla ) Great Basin Pine Nut Forest Inventories -


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Historical Range of Nevada's Nut Pines (Documented Forest Range of Pinus Monophylla ) Great Basin Pine Nut Forest Inventories -

After the mining boom, Nevada's pinyon forests had been cut over twice and few pinyon were to be found, but at the highest of terrian
This is where we work with our pine nuts, shipping tons from the Ely Post office. A hundred years after this picture was taken, the pine nut forests of the Great Basin are starting to return



Note From Penny: 
Time and again, range science talks about the pinyon trees' magical invasion. The purpose of this post is to start the process of  reviewing the historical stands of  The Great Basin's Pine Nut Forests, post settlement. I took one reference and used it as an outline. My intention is then to fill in the outline with other reference materials.  Even 5 years ago, this information was not easily accessible.  Also, people might not have known that P. Monophylla's common name was NUT PINE, rather than pinyon or pinon when doing research.     While not in complete geographical order, this provides a start to a hist0rical view of Nevada's Great Basin Pine Nut Forest, post settlement based on 1st hand accounts from that time.


These extend down the eastern slope almost to the base of the foot-hills, and are yet nearly in their primal greatness, and will long remain unexhausted. The supply of timber from other sources is inadequate. The nut pine, the juniper and the mountain mahogany, thinly cover portions of the mountains through the interior and western sections of the State. But these varieties of timber are not adapted for mechanical purposes. They serve as an excellent fuel, and are used to some extent in tunneling, but are rapidly disappearing.

Ormsby County 18


Ormsby County can scarcely be considered one of the mining counties of the State, though it contributes its quota to the general welfare of the mining interests. Several districts were laid out within its limits during the early days of mining in Washoe, but since 1863, very little has been done towards their development. The greater portion of the county is mountainous land, the Sierras, with their low foothills and spurs, occupying the western section, while the Pine Nut Range covers the greater portion of the eastern.


The eastern portion of the county is covered by a section of the Pine Nut range of mountains, which formerly yielded a large supply of fuel, but the wood has been mostly cut away, and the hills are nearly bare



Wilson's District.

" This newly discovered mining district lies between the east and west forks of Walker River, about eighty miles southeasterly from this city, (Virginia) and adjoins East Walker River on the west. It was discovered and located last July, by William Wilson ; and at the present time, there are about thirty men prospecting and working there. It is in a rough, mountainous country; well wooded with nut pine, and

In this connection I would state that it would be difficult to obtain water within less than two miles of these mines, but that wood (the pinon pine) may be had in large quantities, at from six to ten miles of the mines."BLIND SPRINGS DISTRICT.



Discovered in 1863, by a company from Austin. It is twenty-five miles northwest of Austin, in the Shoshone Mountains. There is water sufficient for mining purposes. Also there is a supply of nut pine and juniper wood. The district hereabout is the same elevation as Austin; it is in the western slope of the mountain near the summit


The mountains east of this valley are known as the Shoshone Range. The northern section is high and bold, and presents sharp canons, and short, abrupt spurs. There is some grass land in places along the river.

North-east of these springs there is some nut pine on the slope of the mountains. A few miles further south Reese River passes through the Shoshone range from the south-east.North-east of these springs there is some nut pine on the slope of the mountains. A few miles further south Reese River passes through the Shoshone range from the south-east.


The mines are on the western slope of the Snake range, and exposed in a rough break in the side of the mountains, down which a large wash of sand has accumulated, making a ramp to bring one up nearer to the level of the mines. The leads seem wide and well defined, free, also, in a great measure, from the base metals, and ought to work well by the ordinary wet process. There is certainly a good showing for the extraction of a large amount of ore, most of which is likely to be of low grade. But few miners were at work at the time of our visit. Water in the near vicinity of the mines is scarce; being enough for the necessities of the camp. The creek, near which the camp was made the night before, affords a good site for mills. Fuel abundant;

Govt. Print. Off., 1875 -


Discovered in 1863, by a company from Austin. It is twenty-five miles northwest of Austin, in the Shoshone Mountains. There is water sufficient for mining purposes. Also there is a supply of nut pine and juniper wood. The district hereabout is the same elevation as Austin; it is in the western slope of the mountain near the summit. Copper occurs more or less in all the mines, in some it predominates, yielding as high as fifteen and twenty per cent. The mineral belt extends ten miles north and about two in width, east and west. The country rock is limestone and slate.

Humboldt County 45


Beginning on the north, we find it to be the most remarkable and well-defined range that belongs to this latitude, between the Sierras and the Wahsatch range. It has its northern limit at the Central Pacific Railroad, near Humboldt Wells, and passing nearly due south, breaks away a little below Hastings Pass, where it is traversed by the old overland road, into a succession of low, broken hills and ridges, pretty well covered with cedar and nut-pine, fit for fuel. MANHATTAN MILL

Govt. Print. Off., 1875 -


Has twenty stamps, each weighing seven hundred and fifty pounds, fourteen Wheeler pans, ten roasting furnaces, six settlers, a Gardner's crusher. Capacity of the mill, nineteen tons in twenty-four hours, in which time it consumes fifteen cords of nut-pine wood, at a cost of nine dollars and fifty cents per cord. Four hundred and fifty bushels of charcoal, at a cost of thirty cents per bushel, are consumed per month. Twenty-five men are employed in running the mill. In amalgamating, ninety per cent. of the metal is saved.


Smqky Valley, east of the Toiyabe Range, does not contain much fertile land. It inclines south, the northern end being surrounded by a rim of low mountains.

On the spurs and foot-hills south the nut-pine and juniper are abundant.
On the spurs and foot-hills south the nut-pine and juniper are abundant. The third range from Austin extends east of this opening, but is broken by a fine natural pass at Twin Springs.

To the south it is interrupted by low hills curving eastward, connecting with the Diamond Mountains. This range is crossed through Trefren's Pass, a canon of easy ascents, lNut-pine and mahogany have, also, a thrifty growth.


Erected in 1867 ; has twenty stamps, eight roasting furnaces, ten Greeley's and Wheeler's pans. Engine, one hundred-horse power. There are two large tubular boilers. All necessary offices and shops are connected with the mill. The work has been well done, and the mill is complete in every respect.

Nut-pine and juniper are used as fuel, at a cost of six dollars per cord. Eighteen tons of ore are reduced in twenty-four hours.


. In addition to this, a number of mines are situated southeast from Ruby Hill, on what is known as Mineral Hill. This hill is covered with nut pine and juniper.


Has twenty stamps, each weighing seven hundred and fifty pounds, fourteen Wheeler pans, ten roasting furnaces, six settlers, a Gardner's crusher. Capacity of the mill, nineteen tons in twenty-four hours, in which time it consumes fifteen cords of nut-pine wood, at a cost of nine dollars and fifty cents per cord. Four hundred and fifty bushels of charcoal, at a cost of thirty cents per bushel, are consumed per month. .


To the north this mountain extends nearly to the Humboldt River in broken ections, at places rising to a considerable altitude. Just east of Pancake Mountain these hills are more isolated, change their course by degrees to due north, are more regular in form, rise to a much greater altitude, and are thickly covered with juniper, nut-pine, mountain mahogany, and an inferior growth of white pine.

Nye County 56


 It is scarcely more than a year ago that this portion of Nevada was marked on the maps of the State as unknown desert, and to-day our prospectors have overrun it from north to south, and from east to west, discovering it to be covered by parallel ranges of mountains, and supplied with wood, water and grass in abundance


A stream of pure water is running in every canon, and wood will not exceed from eight to ten dollars a cord, for several years, so that the expense of milling is not very extravagant


lies in the southeastern corner of the State, about forty miles west-northwest of Pahranagat District, in a low range of mountains, at the foot of the Shonigodit or Grass Mountains.. Wood and water are abundant. The Shonigodit Range is one of the loftiest of the interior ranges of the State, many of the summits reaching 9,000 to 10,000 feet, and retaining the winter snow through the greater portion of the year. This abundance of snow supplies a number of fine streams of water, running from three hundred to five hundred inches, which could furnish almost unlimited water power. The whole range is well timbered with nut pine, and derives its Indian name from the immense amount of bunch grass which covers the entire country


This range runs due north and south, and is very regular. The spurs and canons have a direction at right angles with the summit. It is one of the most elevated mountains in the State. It terminates about eighty miles south of Austin. Fine springs and small streams of water flow along the canons on either side, and originally the hills, in many places, were covered with the nut-pine and juniper.



This mine has all the characteristics of the Marble Falls, and is on a continuation of the same vein, but not opened so well. Wood and water are abundant in this part of the district.


Was organized in 1863. It is on the western slope of the Shoshone Mountains, about fifty miles southwest from Austin. lone is the business center. There is a good supply of wood and water in the vicinity

Storey County 67

At the time of the discovery of the Comstock vein, the Washoe Mountains are said to have been covered with scattered trees of the nut-pine and cedar. But since then, they have been extirpated, and Virginia depends for its supply of wood and timber chiefly on the slope of the Sierra Nevada, which, down to the before-mentioned depression, is covered with a continuous forest. T


lies in the northwest corner of the county, in the neighborhood of the Truckee River, and claims but little attention at the present time. It is well supplied with wood and water, and furnishes the mills of Virginia with large quantities of the former article. Distance from "Virginia, about twelve miles.


"Wood for fuel ranges from $14 to $16 per cord, according to the quality. The most valuable fuel is the "pifion," or nut pine, which at one time covered all the hills in the vicinity of the mines. The immense demand has long since exhausted this supply, and it is now brought from localities ten and twelve miles distant from Virginia. The teams hauling ore to the Carson River at Empire, to Washoe Valley, Galena, &c., bring return freights of firewood from the Sierra Nevada, where the quantity is practically inexhaustible; but its inferior heating properties place it in the market about $2 per cord less than pifion, and even at that price the latter is the most economical fuel, being a closer grained, harder wood, and containing a much larger per centage of resinous matter. The annual consumption of firewood in the three districts may be estimated at about 144,000 cords, worth nearly two million dollars. The cost of transporting this firewood to the place of consumption cannot be far short of $1,250,000.


consumes eighteen cords of wood in twenty-four hours, which costs nine dollars per cord, consisting of nutpine, juniper and mahogany. About 10,000 bushels of charcoal are consumed annually, which costs forty-five cents per bushel.


Eight or ten miles east of Indian Springs, the first range of mountains east of Smoky Valley terminates. The low hills are covered with nut-pine and juniper.


 Twelve cords of juniper wood are consumed under the boilers in twenty-four hours—which costs $3.75 per cord. Under the furnaces eight and a-half cords of nut pine are consumed in twenty-four hours—which costs $5.00 per cord. In smelting and assaying two hundred and seventy-five bushels of charcoal are consumed in twenty-four hours, at a cost of thirty-two cents per bushel. For retorting from twelve to fifteen cords of nut pine are consumed per month


This is a part of Philadelphia District, seven or eight miles west of Belmont, on the eastern slope of the main mountain. Wood and water are abundant in this vicinity.


This district was organized on the 12th of February, 1866, and is on the eastern slope of the second range of mountains east of Belmont.  The bunch grass is abundant, and there is a good supply of wood in places

Lander County 97


This county embraces about one-fourth of the entire area of the State. The valley of the Humboldt, and the bottom lands of its tributaries, afford fine native meadows, and a fair proportion of agricultural lands. In places, fine crops of grain are annually produced. The mountains are better covered with timber than those which lie further west. In addition to the juniper, the nut pine, and the mahogany, there are some white pine groves of great value for mining and building purposes


The mines were discovered in the winter of 1867-8. The district was not regularly organized, but was known as the Sheridan District. A company visited the place in December, 1868, and made several discoveries, and on the 28th of January, 1869, properly organized the district, calling it Tem-Piute District. It is twenty miles west of Pahranagat District. There is a supply of wood in the vicinity, but water is scarce; spring's have been found within four or five miles of the mines. Bunch grass is abundant, but there is but very little meadow land.


In the Fall of 1865, an Indian led Mr. Didlake and Mr. Aikens from Pahranagat to some mines in what is now known as the northern part of the Tem-Piute Mountains. A district was organized, called the Worthington District. There was no work done, however, until the 18th of May, 1869, when a party, led by Mr. George Ernst, visited the mines first located, and about two miles further south found some very fine ore, and re-organized the district, calling it the Freyberg District. Wood, consisting of nut pine and fir, is found in quantities sufficient for mining purposes. W



This district is about seventy-five miles north, and a little east of Austin. The mines were discovered by Mr. A. Veach, and the district organized in March, 1863. The ledges crop above the surface for hundreds of feet on Mount Tenabo. This is the Indian term for Lookout Mountain. It is a very bold peak, having an altitude of about eight thousand five hundred feet. The whole mountain is covered with nut pine. There is also a sufficiency of water.


This district organized in the fall «f 1869; joins Tem-Piute on the south. It includes Tem-Piute Peak, which has an altitude of eight thousand eight hundred feet above sea level. There is wood and water in abundance. The fir and pine cover the western slope of Tem-Piute Peak, in the immediate vicinity of the mines. The ore is a fine chloride of silver. No developments have been made.


It is on the eastern slope of the Panaca Mountains. There is wood sufficient for mining purposes, but the supply of running water is limited nearer than Meadow Valley ten miles south, where there is quite a stream and also a strip of fertile land ten or fifteen miles in length. Here the Mormons cultivate corn, wheat, barley, vegetables and fruit. They also have a flouring-mill and a saw-mill in successful operation.

The country in close proximity is very rough, from irregularities of rock structure and erosion, and covered in great part by nut-pine and cedar.

Govt. Print. Off., 1875 -
high and broken foot-hills of the Schell Creek range, at the head of Meadow Valley, to the northwest of the settlement, and about twelve miles distant. I was told by Mormons in Panacea that these mines had been known for a long time to them, but that neither their church doctrines nor their habits had encouraged the development of mining enterprise. They were located by a scouting party sent out by General Connor from Camp Douglas, some years ago, but were never worked till afterwards located by prospectors, among whom was Mr. Ely, from whence the name. A San Francisco company have started work upon some of the locations, apparently on quite a large scale, while Mr. Ely and some others were engaged in developments of many of the leads. The slight examination made of these mines left a very favorable impression upon my mind as regards their extent, permanence, and richness. The country in close proximity is very rough, from irregularities of rock structure and erosion, and covered in great part by nut-pine and cedar.


Mines were discovered in April, 1869, by an exploring party. The district was organized on the twelfth day of May following. It is nearly west from Ely district on the summit of the Bennett Spring mountain, and a few miles south of Fairview.Wood, consisting of fir, white and yellow pine, is abundant;


This district joins Yellow Pine on the north and covers the Los Vegas Mountains, where there is a fine supply of fir and yellow pine timber,


Wood, for fuel, is abundant, the entire range being well covered with piiion, which attains a large size, and would answer well for all purposes inside the mines. On the loftier portions of the mountains, pine suitable for lumber and heavy mill timbers is found in sufficient quantities for present use.

—The supply of wood is abundant, at $6 per cord. Lumber is worth $70 per thousand feet.


Discovered August, 1870, by .Messrs. Roberts & Tucker. Traces of old work were found.

The district is about forty-five miles north and a little east of Austin, in the Dry Creek mountains, about four miles due east from the salt marsh in Grass Valley. Nut pine and juniper are abundant—the former very large and tall for nut pine. The district is on the western slope of the mountains, in a spur running at right angles with the main summit, probably a thousand feet above the valley.


which is twenty miles long by six in width, lying on either side of the gorge in the Egan range, through which a natural road leads into Steptoe Valley. This camp presents remarkable natural facilities for the mining and milling of ores. Water and wood are in abundance and in close proximity to the prominent leads. Lumber in immense quantities can be procured along the eastern slope of the mountains, from eight to fourteen miles to the south, while the hills in which the mines lie are covered for the most part with a thick growth of nut-pine and mountain-cedar.

Govt. Print. Off., 1875 -


This district was discovered and organized several years ago, but no extensive developments were made, until within the last two years. It embraces a section of country ten or twelve miles square, in either slope of the Diamond Mountains, about thirty-five or forty miles west and south of White Pine District, and about seventy-five miles nearly due east from Austin, only a short distance west of the division line between Lander and White Pine counties. The district has a good supply of wood, consisting of nut pine and mountain mahogany. There is water in Eureka


 In addition to this, a number of mines are situated southeast from Ruby Hill, on what is known as Mineral Hill. This hill is covered with nut pine and juniper


Fourth, the belt of timber, consisting of nut pine and juniper, coincides closely with the ore belt; where the ore widens or narrows, the other conforms to it.


Is a part of Eureka District, on Hodgdon Hill, on the eastern slope of Diamond Mountain. Wood is abundant, and consists of nut pine, mountain mahogany, juniper, and white pine. A few springs are found in the canons, but water is not abundant


The mines were discovered in June, 1869. The district was organized on the 27th day of the same month. It joins Eureka district on the south and extends further to the west. Nut pine, mountain mahogany and juniper are very abundant. Small springs of water are found in the canons. Bunch grass is abundant.





Mines were discovered in this district the thirteenth day of June, 1869. In August, 1867, a party had been in the neighborhood, but had not organized a district, although they found a mineral-bearing vein, which they called the Nevada. It was not until the twenty-first day of June, 1869, that the district was properly organized. In a short time about two hundred claims were located. Eir, white and yellow pine, nut pine, mountain mahogany, cottonwood, juniper, some alder and mountain ash, are found, but not in forests of any considerable extent.

This district is east of Bruno Creek, joining Wyoming. It was discovered in 1864, and organized in the fall of 1869, and is fifteen miles square. It is well supplied with wood, water and grassThis district is twenty-five miles north of Elko, and four miles west of the road to Idaho. Wood is scarce, there being only some cottonwood in the canons. Nut pine is found within about ten miles of the mines. Water is quite abundant in springs. Bunch grass covers the hills.


This county was organized by an act of the last Legislature from territory formerly included in Lander county, and is in the northeast corner of the State. Along the Humboldt river and its tributaries and about the head of the Owyhee and the tributaries of the Snake river, there are sections of agricultural and meadow lands. Generally the country is mountainous, and elevated, and consequently the climate- is colder than in many other parts of the State. The elevation of Elko, the county seat, is 5,030 feet above sea level. That of Mountain City, in Cope district, is 5,045 feet— probably two of the lowest points in the county. The mountains and country generally in the north and eastern parts of the county afford fine grazing facilities. Bunch grass and other feed is abundant. Asfar as has Leen tested, wheat, barley, indian corn, potatoes and the hardier vegetables do well in favorable localities. Timber is not generally abundant. The prevailing varieties are the nut pine, mountain mahogany in small quantities, some juniper and an occasional growth of inferior fir, white and yellow pine



This district is principally on the western slope of the Snake mountains, about fifteen miles south of Sacramento District. Wheeler's Peak, formerly known as Jeff Davis' Peak, is immediately north of Lincoln District. This peak is very prominent, having an altitude of twelve thousand three hundred and nine feet above the sea-level. The body of this mountain is quartzite. On the east side of the mountain, there is a great abundance of timber, consisting of fir, white and yellow pine and tamarack. Trees three-feet in diameter attain an altitude of one hundred and seventy-five feet, and are very straight. Mountain mahogany, nut, pine and juniper are common. Water occurs in springs sufficient for mining purposes.


This district joins Lincoln on the south and has all the same natural facilities for mining. The mines were discovered on the thirteenth of March, 1869. An Indian led some. miners to a ravine where a claim known as the Indian Mine is located; the district was organized the same day and ten claims were recorded. These are situated on a low-spur of the mountain called Mineral Hill. Another spur further north called Lookout Mountain has a number of mines. East of these hills is a canon, at the head of which a saddle connects the hills with the main mountain. This saddle rises into another ridge known as the Hotchkiss Hill. North of this there is a wide canon in which a village is surveyed. North of this canon there is a bench or level place on the top of a hill known as Bromide Flat, where there are mines. Nearly the whole space described is covered with nut pine and mountain mahogany. To the east, the mountain rises very high, probably ten thousand feet, and is capped with limestone.

Directly to the north of the Shoshone District, and on the western slope of the Snake range, some of the ravines are thinly studded with pine of good growth, interspersed with fir, also spruce and hemlock. The quantity in this locality is not large, but sufficient in amount for all local purposes connected with the development of the mines in the vicinity.


This little camp, situated about twenty miles south of Osceola, White Pine county, in the Snake range of mountains, has a number of silver-bearing ledges that will, it is predicted, soon astonish even the old timers by their product. From a few samples of rock thrown out during the last assessment work several assays were made showing from 200 to 300 ounces in silver to the ton. There is a plentiful supply of wood and water convenient, sufficient for all mining purposes of the district. A small force of men are now at work, taking out ore to ship to Salt Lake City for reduction.


. About one mile east from the district is the famous Devil's Punch Bowl, a remarkable natural curiosity, consisting of a butte in tho form of an inverted washbowl of about a quarter of a mile in diameter at its connection with the surrounding valley, while its apex, which is horizontal, is about one hundred feet in diameter; and upon walking up the smooth side of the bowl to the top. The range where the mines are located rises abruptly and grandly from the western side of the vallej7, and is covered for miles with a dense growth of nut pines, while at a higher altitude white pines appear in considerable quantities.   1874 - Appendix to Journals of Senate and Assembly State of Nevada


The supply is quite large at the first and third points, while 750,000 feet will be the superior limit in the vicinity of the Pahranagat mining-camp. The last situation is upon the eastern slope of the Spring Mountain range, and nearly fifty miles in a northwest direction from Las Vegas. The amount far exceeds that found at any of the other points, and will not be limited by 3,000,000 feet of lumber.

The pines are of very large diameter and of extreme lengths. Spruce and hemlock show themselves to a considerable extent. The only black birch and poplar encountered during the trip were found in this locality in small quantities.

It will be seen that with the exception of two instances the timber-patches of this entire section are on the eastern slopes of the mountain-ridges, as it is natural to expect, from the formation of the foot-hills.

Nut-pine and mountain-cedar abound in frequent localities, and will become of great value as fuel in many places where now only the former afford the pine-nuts as a sustenance to the Indian. These are large enough in many places to act as timbering for the mines.

Govt. Print. Off., 1875 -

 South From Clover Valley 30 miles -

The succeeding day we got fairly off, and continued the march for thirty miles, coming in at night to another little mountain valley, having passed over rolling country,principally covered with nut-pine and cedar; road good, but very crooked. The wash from this valley enters Meadow Creek Canon, and therefore how far to the northeast of this position the dividing line of the great interior basin from that of the Colorado passes, it is somewhat difficult to say. However, it is judged not to be very far distant. Clover Valley is a small Mormon settlement, comprising some seven or eight hundred acres of arable land.

Govt. Print. Off., 1875 -


These are well defined in height and direction, extending for long distances, passing either side of Steptoe Valley on the north, then Cave Valley, below which the names change; but a succession of ranges, nearly parallel to the route projected for a railroad to the mouth of the Virgin River, may be said to be a continuation of these ranges. The elevation at any of the points measured exceeds in no instance more than 11,200 feet, while 8,000 feet is the average height. Timber is found at several points, while at many others wood for fuel abounds.

Govt. Print. Off., 1875 -

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