Outdoor Adventures


Red Rock Canyon inspires at-risk teens to follow their dreams.

Nearly 13,000 students in the Clark County School District are referred to the Department of Juvenile Justice Services in a typical year. And half of those had a prior record, with most involving a felony or gross misdemeanor – often involving gang activity.

It’s a dismal picture that has motivated the Las Vegas Police Department to focus an increasing amount of resources and personnel to reach those in their early teens – and younger – before they step over the line into criminality and become one of nearly 12,000 gang members in the city .

“By engaging with youth in our community, it develops a trusting relationship. We can help kids make better choices to stay out of trouble and reduce juvenile crime,” explains Officer Glen Taylor of the department’s Office of Community Engagement.

Taylor oversees the Police Athletic League, working with scores of youth across a spectrum of sports including basketball, boxing and tennis. Now he and fellow officer Arnold Parker are leading a novel partnership with Friends of Red Rock Canyon and the Summerlin Rotary Club.

It’s called Outdoor Adventures, and for its inaugural school year, 12 young teens – six boys and six girls – have been chosen to participate in a series of nature hikes as well as work projects at Red Rock, including canyon cleanups, light-trail maintenance and graffiti removal.

“These teens may look up and see the Red Rocks in the distance, but they have no understanding, or even the imagination, to appreciate their natural wonder,” said Taylor. “We believe that exposing them to their beauty will widen horizons, while the work projects will teach them about teamwork and enhance their self-esteem.”

If the teens’ first weekend at Red Rock is any indication, Taylor’s aspiration will become reality.

Led by board members of Friends of Red Rock Canyon along with Taylor and Parker, the teens hiked along Discovery Trail and encountered a waterfall, along the way learning about the many varieties of cacti and viewing petroglyphs – remnants of ancient peoples who once lived there.

They hiked in brand new boots provided by REI as well as shirts, water bottles, knapsacks and other safety equipment financed by Friends, with a generous grant from the Summerlin Rotary Foundation.

The teens enjoyed both breakfast and a picnic lunch along the way. “That’s no small thing,” emphasized Taylor. “These kids miss many meals and almost surely depend on reduced price meals when they are at school.”  Nearly 70 percent of all students in Las Vegas qualify for subsidized meals.

Outdoor Adventures is a wonderful new initiative that is bound to alter the arc of these teens’ lives,” said Mike Levy, Summerlin Rotary’s president. “The club is very proud to participate. We already have a wonderful relationship with the Las Vegas Police Department, including our long commitment to cleaning Police Memorial Park, including landscaping and plantings.

Taylor, a 23-year police veteran, has lived in Las Vegas for 48 years. Parker was born and raised in the city.

“We are personally invested and committed to these young men and women, along with hundreds of others participating in PAL,” said Taylor. “We see the results of our work and the impact it has on their families, who are more inclined to trust law enforcement in their community.

“While PAL creates consistency in these teens’ lives and creates incentives to succeed in life, Outdoor Adventures goes beyond that because we are exposing them to a world they might never see or experience,” said Taylor.

“Some of the teens we accompanied at Red Rock never saw a cactus up close. They never encountered the kind of quiet they experienced along the trail,” he observed.

“They were meeting new people that are not ordinarily a part of their lives,” noted Rob Tuvell, a local Realtor and Friends’ board member who is liaison with the police department. “And we too were meeting and getting to know young people we might otherwise never meet.”

Taylor measures success of the department’s Community Engagement office by the number of at-risk youths that eventually attend college, enter the military and even join the police department.

But, to reach such heights, it takes a combination of experiences like Outdoor Adventures and mentors willing to contribute their experience and compassion.

“Not only was our first weekend adventure amazing because of such beautiful nature, but we also watched our youth socialize with each other as well as people they never met before,” he explained.

“Interacting with natural environments allows children to learn by doing and experiment with ideas. Plus being outside feels good. Being in nature enables children to run, jump, hop, skip, climb, roll, and shout, which relaxes, and reduces tension, anxiety, and restlessness.

“Researchers have found that outdoor play calms children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, which many of our kids have,” noted Taylor.  “Nature enhances a sense of peace, and often brings out nurturing qualities in children. Often, when involved in the nature, even boisterous, active children may slow down and learn to focus on being gentle.”

“After a succession of similar weekends running through next May, we truly hope they will have a far deeper appreciation of nature – and understand that their worlds can be so much bigger than the ones they have at home.”

The police department is very excited about the potential of Outdoor Adventures growing exponentially.

“We have the capacity to recruit many kids. But, it takes about $150 per youngster to equip them safely for hiking and working in Red Rock Canyon. That’s why we are so encouraged by the partnership with Friends and Rotary,” he said.

Canyon Clean Up – Teen Style

My daughter recently joined the National Junior Honor Society at Doral  Academy – Red Rock. This means that I have to help her find service projects that she is old enough to do (several places like hospitals and museums have a
minimum age for volunteers).

And since I have to drive her, I often end up volunteering with her.

In searching for options, I first thought of volunteering at Red Rock Canyon. I had already volunteered with the Graffiti Removal team, and at the time I remember thinking it would be a good activity for kids and teens. Knowing that someone has to remove it would be a good deterrent to defacing Red Rock.

That didn’t work out with our schedule,  but luckily there was a Canyon Cleanup scheduled for an upcoming Teacher Workday. I contacted the coordinator, Liz Carmer, to see if we could join. I discovered that the Canyon Cleanups are very popular and space is limited, so you have to register early.

Fortunately, there were still a few spots left. I signed up for three spots – my daughter, her friend and me.

When we arrived at the Visitor Center the day of the cleanup we were given bright yellow vests, bottles of water and best of all, the long metal trash.

My daughter and her friend loved the tongs and practiced picking up small
rocks in the parking lot.

After driving out to Calico Basin and parking along the main drive with the others, we ventured out into the desert. It wasn’t long before the girls raced off, spying a plastic bag on a bush in the distance. I followed more slowly, watching as they darted from one piece of trash to another.

It soon became competitive and I heard the cry, “No, that’s my piece of
trash!!” as they pretended to duel over the prized item.

But I could understand the excitement. Searching the landscape for a glimmer of metal, cardboard or plastic reminded me of the thrill of searching for plastic colored eggs in an Easter egg hunt.

When we returned to the meeting place, it was time to load up the truck. As we helped pile the bags of trash into the truck, we talked with some other
volunteers about how important it is to get young people involved.

One volunteer said people always complain that Las Vegans are shallow, but you just have to take the initiative and look for the other people who are interested in making a difference.

“They’re out there,” she said.

As we drove out of Calico Basin that day, I looked back in the mirror at two smiling faces. My 13-year old daughter shed her teenage persona for a moment to enthusiastically proclaim, “We have to do that again!”


Welcome new contributor to the Rock magazine – Dana S. Raborn.
Dana is a scientific editor with a background in urban planning. She and her family relocated to Las Vegas three years ago and live minutes from Red Rock Canyon. She enjoys volunteering at Red Rock as well as hiking, painting, music, sailing and kayaking.

Volunteers Spotlight – Our Campground Hosts and Hostesses

Bob Brewer

How long have you been a campground host at Red Rock Canyon Campground?

Five Seasons.

Who inspires you?

Jimmy Carter for his intelligence and volunteering.

What is the best concert you have attended?

Beach Boys at California Jam in the 70s.

If you could be any animal, which animal would you

Mountain Lion because it lives in the unspoiled wild
and is able to thrive.

What are you currently watching on TV/Netflix/Hulu?

Laramie on the Western Channel on Dish Network.

What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?

Restoring my body after thyroid cancer.

What are you passionate about?

Protecting our environment for generations to come.

Kathy Brewer

How long have you been a campground host at Red
Rock Canyon Campground?

Five Seasons.

Who inspires you?

Michelle Obama because she works to help children.

What is the best concert you have attended?

Doc Watson Blue Grass Music

If you could be any animal, which animal would you

Bald Eagle.

What are you currently watching on TV/Netflix/Hulu?

Live PD.

What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?

Learning Recreation.gov

What are you passionate about?

To save the forest and wildlife

Dennis Lambert

How long have you been a campground host at Red
Rock Canyon Campground?

This is my first season (spent the last six years in Lake
Tahoe area.)

Who inspires you?

My wife Barb.

What is the best concert you have attended?

George Strait.

If you could be any animal, which animal would you

Eagle of course.

What are you currently watching on TV/Netflix/Hulu?

Whatever my wife has on the TV.

What’s the last book you read?

Lord of The Rings.

What are you passionate about?

Just plain helping people.

Barb Lambert

How long have you been a campground host at Red
Rock Canyon Campground?

This is my first season (spent the last six years in
Lake Tahoe area.)

Who inspires you?

Dennis (my husband). We inspire each other to
always be the best we can be each day.

What is the best concert you have attended?

George Strait (Country Legend).

If you could be any animal, which animal would you


What are you currently watching on TV/Netflix/Hulu?

Big Brother and America Got Talent.

What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?

Getting all setup at the new host here at Red Rock!

What are you passionate about?

Being Kind and helping others.


Click here to learn how you can make reservations at the Red Rock Canyon Campground.


Meet Tortoise Habitat Coordinator Chelsea Conlin

I grew up on the East Coast, but it turns out that I’m a desert rat at heart.

Until I moved to Vegas at the end of 2011, I’d always lived in fairly temperate places: Upstate New York, Rhode Island, northern Japan, Colorado, and Kentucky. There is something to be said for the rolling green hills back East, but I immediately fell in love with the sharper desert landscape.

Without all that greenery covering everything, you can really appreciate the geology of the Southwest. The harshness of the Mojave Desert has also made me appreciate the incredible toughness and adaptability of the plants and animals here. The beauty of the desert is undeniable.

One of the first things I did after getting settled in Vegas was to take my dogs hiking at Red Rock Canyon. I had done some hiking previously, but Red Rock was where my love of hiking blossomed. I quickly learned that plants here are very pointy and probably shouldn’t be touched, and that getting on the trail by sunrise affords the most astonishingly beautiful views of the mountains around Red Rock.

It wasn’t until several years later that I began volunteering with Friends of Red Rock Canyon (FORRC), and it snowballed from there. I’ve always had a passion for giving back, but no organization that I’ve worked with makes it as easy and fun as does FORRC. I’m on several of the dedicated volunteer teams, including Light Trail Maintenance, the Native Plant Team, Natural Resources, and of course, the Tortoise Team.

I fell in love with Red Rock Canyon’s rescued Mojave Desert Tortoises as soon as I met them. I never would have guessed that tortoises could have such individual personalities, but I soon learned how wrong I was.  Meet each one of them.

I love and respect all animals, and it’s been an amazing opportunity to work so closely with a threatened species.

Educating visitors about the Mojave Desert Tortoise has been a very important part of my time as a volunteer. I want to help protect them for their own sakes – and for future generations of people to appreciate as well.

To that end, I’ll be attending a two-day course with the Desert Tortoise Council in November. I hope to learn even more about tortoises so that I can make our little (or in Hugo’s case, not so little) friends’ lives as enriching as possible. I also aim to give our extremely dedicated volunteers, as well as visitors to the tortoise habitat, a rewarding and fun experience.

I often think about how much richer my life has become thanks to the Mojave Desert, FORRC, and the tortoises. I couldn’t ask for more!

Donate to the Tortoise habitat HERE

Meet Susan Murphy – Making a Difference Every Day

Last year alone, 28,000 volunteers contributed nearly 1 million hours of service valued at $23 million across all the Bureau of Land Management’s public lands.

As one way to acknowledge this invaluable help, BLM annually bestows the “Making a Difference” National Volunteer Awards to a highly select few; and this year, one of only seven recipients is our own Susan Murphy, who leads the Light Trail Maintenance team.

They all were honored during a recent ceremony that connected the winners across the country via video teleconferences at BLM offices in several states and in Washington, D.C.  

“Through the years, volunteers on our public lands have ensured that Teddy Roosevelt’s ideal – the American conservation ethic – would endure,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “The BLM volunteers being celebrated today are champions of this conservation ethic, and it is an honor to recognize them for their extraordinary efforts.”

The hard-working volunteers have helped the BLM monitor trails, manage wild horses, keep campers safe, and provide environmental education, interpretation, and other visitor services, noted Zinke.

The 2018 awardees, selected by a national panel of BLM specialists and partner organizations, were nominated by their local offices. In addition to Susan, who was acknowledged for ‘outstanding achievement,” are:

  • Pat & Phyllis MalatoOutstanding Achievement,Upper Snake Field Office (Idaho)
  • Miranda & Madison DickinsonOutstanding Youth, National Historic Trails Interpretive Center (Wyoming)
  • Great Escape Mustang SanctuaryGroup Excellence, Little Snake Field Office (Colorado)
  • David & Jane StyerLifetime Achievement, Fort Ord National Monument (California)
  • Sandra & Geoff FreetheyLifetime Achievement, Moab Field Office (Utah)
  • Laura OlaisEmployee Winner, Gila District Office (Arizona)

The Rock interviewed Susan to learn more about what motivates her as such an outstanding volunteer.


Please share a bit of your previous professional life as a pharmacist prior to retiring, as well as where you lived before moving to Las Vegas.

Susan: I actually was born in Las Vegas, then lived in Ohio, Arkansas, Florida, Arizona, California, Hawaii and Australia. Intermittently, I kept coming back to Las Vegas where I’ve rooted for the past 32 years.

Before retiring six years ago, I was a pharmacist and worked at Sunrise & Mountain View Hospitals, Talbert Medical Center and Payless retail pharmacy. I also was a consultant for outpatient surgery centers and physicians, and finally landed a dream job with Medco Mail Order, where I stayed for
almost 15 years. In 1990, I received Nevada’s “Distinguished Young Pharmacist” award in recognition of individual excellence and outstanding service to the profession of pharmacy.

When did you first encounter Red Rock Canyon, and how did it influence your life?

Susan: I found Red Rock Canyon as a hiker about 25 years ago. Because of the which meant I could actually use my first degree, a BA in Art from UNLV. I also coordinated hikes with Sierra Club and the Las Vegas Mountaineers Club.

Has volunteerism been a big part of your life?

Susan: My volunteer life with Red Rock has been about 10 years, but I became more active in my six years of retirement. I volunteer because I’m proud of our conservation area, and I want to keep it beautiful. I get a lot of use out of Red Rock; so it’s a win-win for me to give back.

Funny, I always thought volunteering was something to be done after retirement when I had more time. I volunteered here and there while I was a wage slave, but now I have more time. At first, I thought I volunteered because I didn’t have a life. Now, I know that volunteering IS my life, and I LOVE IT!

How did you first get involved with Friends?

Susan: Just by volunteering, first with Natural Resources, then with the Graffiti Removal Team, Red Rock Ambassador Program, Native Plant Team, and finally with Light Trail Maintenance, which I now lead.

What is the mission and goals of the Light Trail Maintenance committee?

Susan: To groom Red Rock’s trailheads and trails to preserve a well-maintained look. Goals? That’s an easy one! I only have three goals for any Light Trail Maintenance event: (1) Make it look BETTER, (2) Be SAFE and (3) Have FUN!

One of the questions a Friends’ board member asked when I submitted the proposal
was: “How many volunteers do you expect?” My answer was: “I’d be happy with 10-12 volunteers.”
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d end up with sometimes as many as 36 all cream-of-the-crop volunteers!

As for managing the large volunteer numbers, they sign up on Volgistics (or call/text/email me
if Volgistics is too intimidating). That way I know how many tools, snacks, water, etc. to

A week before the event, I send out an email to volunteers who have signed up,vand I give them details on when and where to meet for carpooling and where the work location will be. I give them a heads up on what kind of work to expect by giving annotated photos of potential work – raking trails, lining trails with rocks where needed, garbage pickup, light pruning overgrowth that
obstructs trails, naturalizing social paths and sweeping parking lots near our trailheads.

I let them decide the kind of work they want to do, depending on how they feel that day; and they’re free to switch out tools if they want to try something different.

I suggest they wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants, hat, sunglasses, sturdy full coverage shoes and to bring a small backpack or fanny pack to carry personal items (since we may end up working a mile from the trailhead). I let them know that Friends will supply all the tools, snacks, water, sunscreen
and the ever-popular safety briefing.

How do you recruit volunteers?

Susan: In addition to Friends and BLM, I hike with various groups and do low-key recruitment
while hiking. Sometimes I’m just out monitoring trails (my favorite volunteer gig) and people ask how they can help.

What drives the volunteers you work with?

Susan: Our volunteers always go above and beyond my expectations, and when I compare my “Before” and “After” photos, a tearful, proud smile comes across my face. They never fail to amaze me! I’m not sure what drives all our volunteers to do such a great job, but I’d wager a guess that they like seeing their results too.

How have you gone about organizing and managing the committee?

Susan: I submitted a proposal to Friends after several years of noticing that the second
Saturday of every month was just not enough to maintain our trails. I kept thinking
that “THEY” need to do something… “SOMEBODY” needs to do something… and decided that hey, I guess I could do something!

The proposal was accepted and the Light Trail Maintenance committee received an operating budget. Since we work with BLM, they lend us a truck (after an online defensive driving course is passed) to haul supplies and load collected trash.

With a list of volunteer names from Friends and BLM, I spoke with some on the phone, texted some and emailed dynamic promos to others.

What are some of your favorite endeavors along the trails?

Susan: Learning how to maintain our tools. BLM Firefighter Jason Douglas, with help from
three other colleagues, gave us a Power Point presentation and a hands-on workshop on sharpening

Learning the art of naturalizing social paths in Lost Creek with long-time volunteer (teacher)
Larry Dunn.

Teaching how to keep water off a trail. Water is the main source of damage (via erosion) to our
trails. I was delighted when a steep hill of the trail off Moenkopi Road held up following a torrential
downpour because of our work.

Having Peter Sbraccia teach us some graffiti removal techniques as part of our trail maintenance
in Willow Springs.

Teaching some trail-building techniques on what was just a path connecting the Scenic Loop exit to
the Red Rock Overlook.

Can you share a few anecdotes about individual volunteers and their work along the trails?

Susan: Lisa Metzer-Gott stopped work for a moment, spread her arms out wide and expressed
how wonderful it was to be volunteering in such an overwhelmingly beautiful place.
Cory Gozar, a volunteer in her 70’s, is like a cheerleader. She works hard and inspires others
to join her. She even recorded the sound of a Gila monster so we’d know what not to go near if we
heard it (quite scary, actually!).

Sofia Castille, who often gets dropped off and picked up by her husband, always has a beautiful
smile and pleasant demeanor. She works hard, and only asks for a good Facebook photo!
We have several teams that show married couples really can have fun working together – Edie &
Kevin Cardiff, Rebecca & Howard Dukes, Beth & Brian Schuck, Shari & Jeff Young, Karen & Mike
Evans, and Joan Urarro & Glenn Ritt.

Chelsea Conlin (aka “Hercules”) is usually (ok, always) our youngest volunteer, ever eager to pitch
in whenever someone calls out “We need some muscle over here!” She also makes a great batch of
vegan chocolate chip cookies!

What do you envision moving forward for Light Trail Maintenance?

Susan: That we won’t be needed! Well, I can dream! Mother Nature will make sure trail work
will continue. In the future, I plan to do more educcation. The volunteers will have a firmer grip on
seeing proper techniques for themselves and can teach others.

What advice do you give newcomers about volunteering?

Susan: Newcomers are always encouraged to join us. We always have several newbies. I think
it’s a good idea to introduce them by name and make them feel welcome and immediately part of
the team.

We have a couple of companies (Timberland Boot Company and Revzilla.com) that pay their
employees to work with us, and they always send new volunteers. It’s fun to see a wide range of
people whose lives are so varied on the outside, all working together toward our common goals.

What do you see volunteers getting out of their experience?

Susan: They not only get the “Before” and “After” photos, but also pictures of themselves
having fun at trail maintenance. They like the camaraderie of helping each other. I make sure
to remember their names and they appreciate the recognition. They like the organization, as well as
the freedom to choose what they’d like to do.

When all is said and done, beyond the fact that they (1) Made it look BETTER, (2) Stayed SAFE
and (3) Had FUN, I make sure they are dearly thanked!

Up Close and Personal – Morning with the Tortoise Team

Every morning, the Friends’ Tortoise team visits the Tortoise habitat at Red Rock Canyon to tend to our most famous residents.

If you want to become a volunteer team member, you will be trained and scheduled as a habitat worker. You will be sure they are watered and examine them for ticks, among your duties. You will contribute to record keeping for the 10 Desert Tortoises as well as coordinate routine maintenance. You often work in cooperation with the Master Gardeners.

Contact Chelsea Conlin to learn more about volunteering.

Get to know each of our special tortoises. Click here.

How BLM protects the Desert Tortoise. Click here.

Here’s a photo gallery of a typical morning in the habitat while tending to the residents:

The Friends’ Natural Resources Team in Action

By Pat Williams

More than two million people enjoy Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area each year. This is both a blessing and a curse: With all those feet coming through the gates, you can imagine what the trails look like after a season of visitor usage and monsoon weather.

Some trails are worn down to knee depth, some trails or areas get washed away, new trails crop up because the original trails become impassable, signage fades to the illegible due to the harsh climate… The list goes on.

However, we are blessed with having an incredible volunteer team, the Natural Resource Committee (AKA: The Team), who are passionate about preserving and improving the trails that are enjoyed by millions of feet, paws and hooves. We are also fortunate to have the support of our community, local organizations and corporations who are eager to help with our preservation

The Team has monthly workdays in addition to tackling special projects requested by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). I’d like to focus on just a few of The Team’s special projects over the years.

Among the most impressive:Award: The Scenic Drive Highpoint Overlook This parking pullout provides beautiful views of the canyon floor and the surrounding mountain ranges. The relatively ample parking lot is generally filled with tour buses, bicycles and cars – with all the occupants being outside the vehicles enjoying the view.

This location is also a favorite photo op site for wedding parties. Sadly, years of monsoon
rains had eroded the ground surrounding the parking area leaving an unmarked two-foot drop-off
from the pavement to the desert floor.

The Bureau of Land Management developed a remediation plan and requested that Friends provide
funds and volunteers to repair the damage several years ago.

Using five tons of back-fill soil, approximately 300 landscaping pavers and the skill (and brawn) of
a dozen volunteers, the dangerous drop-off was eliminated on a Saturday morning.

The Backbreaking Award: Ice Box Canyon is one of the most picturesque and
heavily used trails in the canyon: the end destination follows a wash to a wooded and shady slot canyon, featuring a seasonal waterfall, which is 10 to 15 degrees cooler than the canyon floor.

Absolutely heavenly after the ¾ mile journey from the parking lot. And, you would be extremely lucky to find a parking spot after 8:00 a.m. The trail from the parking area to the entrance to the wash had been so loved (a euphemism for being overly used) that the trail was 12 to 18 inches deep in places.

Repairing the damage required two weekends of hauling and placing nearby rocks and boulders
to line the eroded areas as a base for phase two. This was done the old-fashioned way: manual labor.

Phase two was a little more complicated but was much easier on the volunteers’ backs and arms:
Mule power courtesy of Cowboy Trail Rides and lots of help from The Bristlecone Chapter of the
Backcountry Horsemen of Nevada, Future Farmers/Ranchers of America, The United States Air Force, the Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association and the Bureau of Land Management.

The Team and partners moved over 16 tons of soil from the staging area to the prepped areas to bring the trail back up to the proper level.

This story was published originally in 2015


U.S. Bureau of Land Management – Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon was designated as Nevada’s first National Conservation Area.  Red Rock Canyon is located 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip on Charleston Boulevard/State Route 159.  The area is visited by more than two million people each year.

In marked contrast to a town geared to entertainment and gaming, Red Rock offers enticements of a different nature including a 13-mile scenic drive, miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, road biking, picnic areas, nature observing and visitor center with indoor and outdoor exhibits as well as a book store.

In 1990, special legislation supported by the Nevada congressional delegation, changed the status of the Red Rock Recreation Lands to a National Conservation Area, the seventh to be designated nationally.

This legislation provides the funding to protect and improve the area. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is enjoyed by the local population as well as visitors from the United States and many foreign countries. Two million visitors each year enjoy the spectacular desert landscape, climbing and hiking opportunities, and interpretive programs sponsored by the BLM.

The BLM is the largest administrator of public lands in the West. It adheres to the policy of multiple use, thereby providing recreational opportunities, protection for cultural sites, and the management of natural resources, including wildlife.

Visitor Center

A favorite stop at Red Rock is the visitor center. Not only it is a one-stop shop for getting tips on how to make the most of your visits, it’s a great place to learn more about Red Rock and the Mojave Desert and pick up a few souvenirs.

Outdoor Display PhotoThe LEED gold-certified visitor center is designed to encourage stewardship for public land by providing an outdoor experience that instills a sense of personal responsibility.

The majority of the innovative interpretive exhibits are outside with four themed elements:  earth, air, fire and water. If you are eager to see desert tortoises or learn more about Red Rock’s geology, head toward the Earth exhibit. Looking for a dust devil? Head to the air exhibit to create one yourself. Many people think this area is roasting hot in the summer; come to fire exhibit to learn about agave roasting pits. The water exhibit will remind you of how precious this resource is in the desert.

The indoor portion of the visitor center includes a reception desk staffed by helpful employees and volunteers who can answer your questions, a million dollar view of the Calico Hills, touch screen exhibits, classroom and gift shop.

When the original visitor center – which is now the administrative building – opened in 1982, about 20,000 people visited Red Rock each year. Now more than a million people a year visit the area. To address this issue, the Secretary of the Interior approved funds under the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act to build a new visitor center to provide enhanced visitor services to the increasing number of people who visit the National Conservation Area each year.

For Kids

Color Nevada Wild – A coloring book published by the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

Junior Ranger Red Rock Canyon – Program and activity book to learn about Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and become a Junior Ranger. (Please be patient during download, the file size is large.)

Junior Ranger Geology and Fossils – Activity book focusing on geology and fossils.

Junior Ranger Wild Horses and Burros – Activity book on how they became living symbols of the American West.

For Parents and Teachers

Below is a brief explanation of each link in the education pages. If you have any suggestions or ideas that you would like to submit, please feel free. We are always looking for lesson plans or materials to add to the site. The best address to send these materials to is ksorom@blm.gov

Educational Programs – This link provides information on classroom programs, field trips, or workshops made available by Red Rock Canyon and how to get information on them.

Teacher Resources – This link provides teachers with information and resources about Red Rock Canyon the surrounding area and general teaching aids.

Hands on the Land – This link will direct you to a national network of field classrooms and agency resources to connect students, teachers, families, and volunteers with public lands and waterways.


Volunteering is an American tradition that has made immeasurable contributions to communities, organizations, and individuals throughout the country.

Your contribution of time and energy will help us to protect the magnificent natural and cultural areas entrusted to us, and you’ll go home with a sense of pride at having participated in something worthwhile.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a part of your public land to help take care of and cherish.

Individuals, families, and organized groups are welcome to volunteer. Many opportunities are available for persons who are beginners to the highly skilled professional as well as opportunities for short term and long term commitments. Volunteering at Red Rock Canyon can be challenging and rewarding.

What are the benefits?

  • You get to meet new people with the same interests.
  • You get to learn about the desert environment so close to the city that we live.
  • Free training on subjects such as geology, plant, animals, and native peoples.
  • Best of all you get to play outside.
  • BLM volunteers have the same benefits as federal government employees for compensation for work-related injuries and tort claims protection. Although volunteers contribute their services without pay, they may deduct out-of-pocket expenses on income tax returns within the limits set by tax laws. Deductions can include car mileage, meals and lodging expenses incurred as a result of volunteer work.

The only areas which prohibit volunteers are law enforcement, fire suppression, and participating on special use flights.

A few volunteer opportunity examples are:

  • Information Desk
  • Tortoise Habitat Monitor
  • Trail Monitor
  • Natural Resource Team
  • Landscape Team

If you have an interest in volunteering your time and expertise to Red Rock Canyon we would like to encourage you to fill out the Volunteer Application form and send it to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area; C/O Cal Howell, HCR 33 Box 5500, Las Vegas, NV 89161.

For more information about these or other volunteer opportunities please contact our volunteer coordinator at 702-515-5350.

Become a Friend of Red Rock Canyon.

While you always can volunteer directly with BLM, becoming a Friend means you hundreds of members and enjoy many benefits – from friendships to invitations to special events to even discounts at the gift shop at the visitor center.

Learn more about becoming a member. Click here.

Get your custom Red Rock Canyon license plates. Click here.


Volunteer Training

New volunteer training and safety procedures classes are offered throughout the year.

In February and August additional classes are offered to all volunteers covering a variety of Red Rock Canyon and Southern Nevada subjects.

To register, sign up through Volgistics, email James Cribbs: jcribbs@blm.gov or call J. Cribbs at 702-515-5365 and ask to sign up for the volunteer training sessions.

To view the class schedule for July and September 2018, click on the link below.

July and September 2018 Training Schedule

An expanded training class scheduled is offered in August. A current Volunteer Agreement is required to attend. Click on the link below to see a list of classes offered.

August 2018 Summer Training Schedule