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Boulder City History
by Roseanne Schoaff, Manager
Boulder Dam Hotel

Cultural and Historical Considerations for the Bypass
In addition to the environmental concerns typically associated with projects the scope of the Hoover Dam Bypass, project planners also had to consider the impact of the bypass on the historical design of the dam, as well as the preservation of important historical sites on Sugarloaf Mountain and in Goldstrike Canyon.

The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 was established as part of the National Park Services program to protect and preserve our historical landmarks across America. And, since the inception of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the National Park Service has protected and preserved 1.5 million acres of land from excessive human impact.

Now with the Hoover Dam bypass a reality, much attention focuses on the project’s impact to historically significant sites along the route.

Sugarloaf Mountain in Arizona and Goldstrike Canyon on the Nevada side of the dam are important not only because of their inherent beauty, but also because of their cultural significance, primarily to Native American tribes. Great care has been taken to continue to protect this historic place of interest through unprecedented collaborative efforts between the bypass planners and the Las Vegas Indian Center.

Sugarloaf Mountain once was (and still is in some cases) a ceremonial destination place for such people as the Paiute, Hopi, Zuni, Mohave, and Navajo. Scattered along its weathered peaks and sharp valleys are petroglyphs (rock art), ceremonial clearings, medicinal plants, rock shelters, sacred caves, mountains, and hot springs – all important reminders of the rich and diverse cultural history of the area.

According to Richard Arnold, chairperson of the Pahrump-Paiute Tribe, “We’ve been able to lessen the impacts of the bypass by moving the route from the original point proposed. And this was a milestone in that the Indian voice was listened to in the process. We look forward to a long relationship with the Federal agencies because the area is still used today for religious ceremonies and will continue to be used for all tomorrows to come.”

On behalf of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association.

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