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Economic Information Regarding Eureka County

Few areas of Nevada can boast of the diversity of natural, historic, and economic resources that characterize Eureka County. From alpine mountain peaks to irrigated valley floors, County residents enjoy a diverse physiography that supports important natural resources and economic activities. Eureka County is one of the few Nevada counties that is traversed by Interstate 80, U.S. Highway 50, and the mainline Union Pacific/Southern Pacific rail lines. Within Eureka County can be found commercial quality geothermal, oil, and mineral resources. North America's largest gold mines are currently located in Eureka County.
 

HISTORIC AND CURRENT PERSPECTIVE

Eureka County is valued for historical significance, mountain scenery, rich natural resources, and diverse recreational opportunities. The County's natural resources have attracted residents since the 1800's when prospectors sought the area's gold and silver. Today mining, outdoor recreation and agriculture serve as a basis for the County economy. The "boom or bust" nature of the mining industry has fostered periods of rapid growth and corresponding economic declines throughout the County. Eureka County has experienced these cyclical growth patterns which have resulted in reactive development to satisfy immediate needs.

Eureka County was established in 1873 and enlarged twice, shortly thereafter, to encompass its present territory. Its lands were derived from these existing political units: Elko, Lander and White Pine counties. The Town of Eureka, first settled in 1865, was designated the County Seat, in 1873. Currently, there are 85 County employees. Administrative services funded by the County include:

* Civil Defense * ASCS * Justice Department

* Library * Recreation * Public Health Doctor

* Emergency Medical * Cooperative Extension

* Juvenile Probation * Law Enforcement * Rodent/Weed Control

* Fire Protection * Public Works * Economic Development

* Diagnostic and Treatment Center * Chamber of Commerce

CURRENT LAND USE

Eureka County contains an area of approximately 4,182 square miles. Its population is concentrated in three unincorporated communities, Eureka Town, Diamond Valley, Crescent Valley, and Beowawe.

Generalized Land Use

Almost 81.0 percent of the land in Eureka is managed by federal agencies (Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service). This land is primarily used for livestock grazing, mining, geothermal energy production, and outdoor recreation. Land Management and ownership in Eureka County are shown in Table 2-2. Eureka County has not adopted a zoning ordinance. Existing land use patterns within the County have evolved from economic activity such as mining and agriculture. Locations of limited private land resources have also served to influence land use patterns.

The single greatest land use within the County is open space agricultural, comprised of a series of designated grazing allotments. Approximately 2.4 million acres (90 percent of lands) is used for cattle and sheep grazing and pasture, and for crops such as hay or barley. Also interspersed throughout the County is all or part of 23 mining districts. Mining represents the next largest land use within the County. Existing mines located on or near Eureka County are shown in Figure 2-1. Superimposed over these allotments and mining districts, the U.S. Department of Defense has designated certain areas with the County as special use airspace for military training (Figure 2-2).

Land Use within and Around the Town of Eureka

U.S. Highway 50 bisects the core of Eureka Town. The Township currently contains approximately 520 acres. A variety of land uses occur within Eureka Town boundaries. The core commercial area of Eureka is located primarily along U.S. Highway 50. Other commercial and industrial land uses are found to the north of Eureka near the U.S. Highway 50 and State Route 278 intersection. Development to the south and east of Town is limited due to steep slopes and earthquake faults.

Surrounding the commercial core of Eureka are primarily residential land uses with other mixed uses interspersed. Both mobile homes and conventional housing units can be found in Eureka. Multiple family uses in the Town of Eureka is limited. Mixed land uses occur throughout the Town of Eureka. As the community has grown and urbanized, incompatible uses and conflicts have arisen.

The Town of Eureka contains a variety of residential, commercial and public land uses. The predominate land use is residential with dispersed areas of conventional housing, modular homes, and mobile homes. Of principal significance within the Town of Eureka is a number of historic buildings including residential homes related to historic mining activity. Abandoned buildings along Main Street detract from the aesthetic qualities of the community. The terrain in Eureka also makes large-scale development difficult. Future development and expansion would likely occur to the north of Eureka.

Diamond Valley Area

Diamond Valley contains numerous agricultural operations that rely upon groundwater to irrigate the areaís principal crops, alfalfa and barley. The area is sparsely populated with most residents being associated with agricultural activity. Land use in this area is dominated by open space, agricultural uses, public land, livestock grazing, mining and outdoor recreation. There are few commercial or industrial uses in Diamond Valley with most activity occurring along the Highway 50 corridor towards the southern end of the Valley.

Crescent Valley

The unincorporated Town of Crescent Valley is located in west central Eureka County south of Interstate 80 within Crescent Valley. A variety of land uses occur in Crescent Valley including, residential, agricultural, mining, and limited commercial and industrial use. Growth and development tends to fluctuate with mining activity in the area. The number of residents has grown substantially as evidenced by the number of water connections that have increased from approximately 72 in 1972 to over 200 in 1996. Currently, there are over 500 parcels within the square mile encompassing the Town of Crescent Valley.

The Town of Crescent Valley is dominated by residential uses: primarily mobile homes and modular units. There are some commercial land uses dispersed throughout the community. Recent growth in the area has been spurred by mining development south of Crescent Valley. Outside the town of Crescent Valley the area is sparsely populated. The Town of Crescent Valley is somewhat unique in that it lies adjacent to the eastern border of Lander County. As mining activity increases, growth and development occur in on lands in Lander County next to the Town of Crescent Valley.

Beowawe

Further to the north, Beowawe is located within the Humboldt River corridor south of Interstate 80. The primary land uses in Beowawe include residential, agriculture, and industrial. Total population of the Beowawe area is estimated to be 30 to 40 persons. The mainline Union Pacific and Southern Pacific Railroads pass through the area. There is potential to develop geothermal resources near the community of Beowawe. West of Beowawe in Lander County, the Oxbow/Beowawe Geothermal Power Company operates a power plant with a production capacity of 16 megawatts.

To the north of Beowawe are primarily private land holding in Whirlwind Valley. The mainline railroad bisects the Valley heading north to Dunphy. Surrounding both Crescent Valley and Beowawe is a checkerboard pattern of public and private lands.

Balance of County

The balance of Eureka County is open space used for agriculture, mining, and recreation. The area is sparsely populated. Most of the residential development is associated with agricultural uses and ranching operations. Lands north of Interstate 80 encompass approximately 530 square miles. Boulder Valley is one of the largest blocks of privately owned land in the County. Lands in this area are primarily used for agriculture, livestock grazing, mining and outdoor recreation. Two of the largest gold mining operations in North America, Barrick and Newmont, are located in this area. Other major private land holdings in the outlying County occur south of Palisades at the northern end of Pine Valley.

The majority of lands in the outlying area fall under the management authority of the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. A variety of land uses occur on these lands. There are two wilderness study areas including Simpson Park (49,670 acres) and Roberts Mountain (15,090 acres). The Bureau of Land Management has recommended neither WSA for designation as a wilderness area. Mineral, geothermal and oil and gas development potential exist on these lands. Oil production occurs on wells in the Pine Valley area. Livestock grazing and recreational activities occur throughout public lands.

Current and Historic Population

The population of Eureka County is concentrated in four areas: Eureka, Diamond Valley, Crescent Valley, and Beowawe (Figure 2-5). The majority of the County's population lives in and around the Town of Eureka. Recent population growth has and will likely continue to be influenced by the mining industry. Table 2-3 shows historic and recent population growth in Eureka County. Over the past 25 years, the County's population has grown at an average annual rate of 3.2 percent.

Recently, the population of Crescent Valley has increased dramatically due to increased mining activity in the region. As shown in Table 2-4 the age of the population in Eureka County is similar to the State of Nevada. However, with increased mining growth and activity in Crescent Valley and Eureka more family and married-couple households can be anticipated.

A recent count of dwelling units in the area suggests a population greater than that estimated by the State Demographer. Based upon 270 dwelling units with an assumed 1.5 persons/unit, the population of the community of Crescent Valley in 1995 is estimated to have been 405 persons. The resulting Eureka County population in 1995 is estimated to have been 1717 people.

Future Population Growth

Eureka County population could grow by as much as 56 percent from 1995 to 2010 according to projections prepared by the Nevada State Demographer (Table 2-5). Directly and indirectly mining activity will be the primary cause for increased growth within the County. In addition to mining related growth, smaller gains will probably occur as a result of migration to the County for retirement, and the quality of life.

The mining population will also influence certain demographic trends found elsewhere throughout the State. Mining households are generally of working age, and have more married coupled families with children as compared to the existing population. For example, the 1990 Census showed that Lander County, which is dominated by the mining industry, leads the State in population per household, the proportion of school aged children, and has the highest proportion of married-couple families with children. These factors will tend to influence public services by placing greater demands on schools, and recreational facilities and services. Current and future mining impacts will occur near the Town of Eureka with the Homestake Mine and Crescent Valley with mining activity associated with Cortez Gold (Pipeline Project) and Oro-Nevada Mining.

HOUSING

Housing Characteristics

Table 2-6 shows housing characteristics for Eureka County. Mobile homes account for about 60 percent of total housing units in Eureka County. Eureka and Lander Counties rank among the highest of all counties in the United States for the proportion of the total housing stock comprised of mobile homes. The median value of a single family home in Eureka County in 1990 was $ 54,600. The median monthly contract rent was $293. Much of the conventional housing stock in Eureka County dates back to the turn of the century or older. Many of these units are in poor physical condition. Since 1970, the use of mobile homes as a percentage of total housing stock has increased from approximately 26 percent to 60 percent in 1990. The proliferation of mobile homes use is due to a number of factors including affordability, lack of available financing, and the demand for short-term housing to accommodate mining development.

Housing Characteristics

Eureka County: 1990 and 1995

Type of Housing 1990 Percent 1995 Percent

Single Family Detached 257 32.4% 273 30.1

Single Family Attached 8 1.0 18 2.0

Multifamily 25 3.1 89 9.8

Mobile Home 502 63.5 527 58.1

Total 792 100.0 907 100.0

1990 Census, and the Nevada State Demographer.

ECONOMY

The economic fortunes of Eureka County and its residents have been tied to mining since the discovery of silver-lead mineralization near the present site of the Town of Eureka. The 1980s brought the latest renewal in mining to the region. Gold production in 1994 reached 6.8 million ounces, equal to about 10 percent of worldwide production. The two largest gold producers in Nevada, Barrick and Newmont, are located in northern Eureka County. Most of the mining services supporting the Barrick and Newmont mines and most of the employees of these mines are based outside of Eureka County, primarily in nearby Elko.

Most commercial activity in the County is currently located in the Town of Eureka. The local business sector in Eureka is quite small and limited in diversity. Retail shopping opportunities include groceries, hardware and lumber, consumer electronics, auto parts/fuel/supplies and several novelty / specialty gift stores. There are also a number of cafes and bars, and beauty/barber shops. All of the outlets are relatively small and there are no full-line department, discount or apparel stores in Eureka. Agriculture plays an important role in the local economy. Over the years agriculture has provided a stable employment and income base in Eureka County. In 1993, cash receipts from the sale of agricultural products in Eureka County totaled $10.3 million dollars (Nevada Agricultural Statistics, 1995). The majority of these revenues were generated by the sale of livestock and livestock products. Many livestock producers in the County are cow/calf operations which use range lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and other federal land management agencies for a part of their grazing needs. Recent range reform efforts by the U.S. Department of Interior and proposed increases in grazing fees continue to place economic pressures on livestock producers. Current estimates place the Eureka County cattle and calves inventory at 13,000 head (Nevada Agricultural Statistics, 1995).

Agriculture in Eureka County as well as other rural areas is an export industry. Because most products are sold outside the County (exported), income flows back (imported) into the area. High quality alfalfa hay is produced in Eureka County and exported primarily for use in diary operations throughout the western United States.

 

Airport

Current Facilities

The Eureka County Airports provide access to the air transportation network for the communities of Eureka and Crescent Valley, as well as the surrounding areas. The airport is primarily used for the use of personal, business and corporate aircraft. There are currently no major airline services using the airport. Facilities also include 7,300 square feet of a Fixed Base Operation, which includes an office, pilot's lounge and living quarters. The base will also consist of maintenance capabilities including 4900 square feet of a maintenance bay and fueling capabilities. The improvements will include a well, which will be used for not only domestic uses, but fire use as well. The fire flow tank will have a capacity of 30,000 gallons of water, which will be used exclusively for fire purposes. As a part of this expansion, and as a support service facility, one hanger and two paved runways and fueling services will be provided for the use by aircraft.

Eureka

There is currently one runway at the Eureka Airport being used for powered aircraft only. Runway 17/35 is 7,300 feet long and 60 feet wide and is paved. The airport is located approximately six (6) miles northwest of Eureka in Diamond Valley off of State Route 278 at an elevation of 5,946 feet.

Crescent Valley

There is one unpaved runway at the Crescent Valley Airport, which is used for public use only. Runway 5/23 is 5,423 feet long and 62 feet wide, while runway 14/32 is 4,793 feet long and 74 feet wide, with both runways consisting of a dirt surface. The airport is located at an elevation of 4,787 feet and is a tenth of a mile from the town of Crescent Valley. The County has owned this airport for 3 years.

Economic Development Opportunities Within Eureka County

Identified in the Eureka County OEDP

Revolving loan fund

Dairy development

Tourism expansion (marketing of Eureka)

Add motel/hotel rooms

Golf course

Recreational reservoir

Medical services (Crescent Valley and Beowawe)

Additional Ideas

Mine related procurement and labor participation outreach

Identify and develop industrial sites

Identify mining industry induced industrial investment opportunities

Water export fee to finance economic development initiatives

Tourism

mine tours

mining institute (bring in domestic and international guests)

Expand agricultural production using mine de-watered water

Geothermal development (greenhouses, aquaculture, etc.)

Oil related development

Create local Development Corporation - purchase and relocate industry to County

Industrial park at Beowawe

Range improvements - create additional AUM's

County land bank - low interest loans to enable purchase of leased

private grazing lands

The Area and Its Economy

 The town of Eureka is located in the southern portion of the County. Eureka is also the County Seat, and is the largest community in the County. The population in and around Eureka is estimated to be approximately 1,200 people. Eureka is located on Highway 50, and also served by SR 278. Eureka is 115 miles from Elko, Nevada, and 77 miles from Ely, Nevada. The distance to any of the surrounding cities is 240 miles from Reno, 361 miles from Las Vegas and 327 miles from Salt Lake City, Utah.

Historically, mining built Eureka in the mid-1800's, when silver and lead were discovered. By 1878, ore production in the Eureka Mining District peaked at over 118,000 tons valued at $5.2 million. More than 9,000 people lived in Eureka, making it Nevada's second largest city. By 1890, mining was bust and miners moved on to new boomtowns and there were only 1600 people left in Eureka. The industry resurfaced in 1905, peaked again in 1909, and has been followed by several periods of minor production.

In the 1860ís Central Pacific Railroad utilized Beowawe as a supply point, or gateway, for the mining districts in the area. Today, the Beowawe area continues to provide a comfortable lifestyle for its 200 residents. It is located in the northern portion of Eureka County along the Humboldt River at an elevation of 4,000 feet. The Southern Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads still pass through the center of town, as does Highway 306. The majority of job opportunities in Beowawe and surrounding areas are in the mining and agricultural industries. The construction industry also offers substantial employment in the area.

Crescent Valley, at an elevation of 4,000 feet, became a residential community after attempts to farm alfalfa and operate a dude ranch failed. It has become a haven for those seeking a friendly, comfortable lifestyle. As in the 1800s, mining still plays a major role in Crescent Valley and is again on the upswing. Today, more than 400 people live in the area, located 13 miles south of Beowawe and 18 miles south of Interstate 80. The majority of job opportunities in Crescent Valley and surrounding areas are in the mining and construction industries. Agriculture also provides employment opportunities for area residents.

Eureka County recognizes that two major industries in Eureka County (mining and ranching) are unstable at times and expects to see a decline in both due to the added regulations and assessments through the Mining Reform and Range Reform Acts. Eureka County also recognizes that it is very important to work toward economic development and diversity to secure its future economic base. It plans on focusing on its most positive attributes: good schools, a small but productive labor force, little traffic, a relaxed quality of life and an extremely low crime rate, to attract and keep business.

Mining never has completely died in Eureka County, however, it has created the typical "boom and bust" economy. During the years 1981-83, Eureka County suffered an extreme economic decline. This was due to the stagnated activities in the mining industry that forced layoffs. In 1982, the Countyís unemployment rate nearly tripled in one year to 14.2%, and school enrollment dropped by 18 %. In 1990, mining accounted for 3,510 workers in Eureka County, however, ninety-two percent of these workers worked in Eureka County, but lived in another county. Only 269 mining workers actually resided in Eureka County. Unemployment dropped from 6.9% to 3.7% in 1990. Today, mining is still a major economic activity in the County. During 1996, the State of Nevada estimated that 4,990 persons were employed in mining within Eureka County.

In September of 1996, Eureka County had an unemployment rate of 6.6%. These figures do not reflect however, a correct image of labor force, job availability or unemployment rates for the Eureka County residents. Adjusted information (southern Eureka County only) from the Employment Security Department in Ely, Nevada has typically revealed that the number of persons, by place of residence, and the total labor force suggest higher unemployment rates than are reported. While mining provides a beneficial infiltration of jobs and capital into the local economy, it has not provided a stable, long term foundation for the local economy. Agriculture employs a relatively significant number of residents ( 24.7 % of the total resident work force in 1990) and has provided a stable economic base. A primary reason for the smaller labor force required for agriculture is an increase in productivity through the use of pivot irrigation systems. Such systems require less labor while attaining higher productivity.

In addition to expanding and diversifying the existing agriculture based industries that are located near the community, Eureka has the potential of developing a tourism market by focusing on its historical character. A tourism market is slowly being developed in the community of Eureka. The town of Eureka stands as one of Nevadaís most beautiful and well preserved mining towns, with many authentic brick and masonry buildings dating back to the 1870ís and still in use. Major attractions are the Eureka County Courthouse, Eureka Opera House and the Sentinel Museum. The Eureka Opera House was renovated in 1992 and is now in use as a Convention Center and has acted as a drawing card for conventions, retreats and performances. The Perdiz Sporting Clays Ranges and the Eureka Fair Grounds draw outside people to the community. Monthly and special events held at each facility are very popular. The tourism industry could be expanded immensely (i.e., tour groups, larger conventions, etc.) but can not be properly marketed until Eureka has sufficient hotel or motel rooms to accommodate such groups.

During the past year Eureka County received a $650,000 Economic Development Grant. Dollar for dollar, Eureka County matched the grant and has completed development of the Eureka Airport and a Downtown Eureka Beautification Project. The improvements at the airport include fuel tanks, a hanger and shop, and an apartment for a fixed-based operator and/or caretaker. Eureka County has contracted with a fixed-base operator for the Eureka Airport. The grant also provided for acquisition and development of off street parking, sidewalks and downtown historic beautification, which has been completed.

Schools

Current Facilities

The Eureka County School District serves all of Eureka County. Currently, the District has 2 Elementary Schools and 1 Junior/Senior High School of which one elementary school and one high school are located within the Town of Eureka.

Current Facilities Inventory Eureka County School District

 The Eureka County School District is headquartered in the Town of Eureka. In addition to its administrative offices, the District operates an elementary and a junior/senior high school in Eureka. The elementary school was built in August, 1995. The former elementary school is used for storage, as well as a gymnasium. The existing elementary school in Beowawe will be closed in November, 1996 following the completion of a new elementary school in Crescent Valley.

The district employs a staff of 58, including 34 certified teachers, 3 principals, and a superintendent. Twenty classified staff provide administrative services and operate the District's transportation and maintenance department. Total enrollment has been between 291-366 over the past 6 school years. Enrollment at Eureka Elementary has increased to 135, while the number of students in the junior/senior high has increased to 141 students in the 1995/1996 school year. Enrollment at Beowawe Elementary School is also growing due to continuing residential development in Crescent Valley, increasing from 34 students in 1990-1991 to 90 at the start of the current school year.

Due to geographic distances between communities, school districts in Nevada often serve students who live in rural areas outside the District's boundaries. Five students from White Pine County, and 20 students from Nye County currently attend school in Eureka. Forty-five students, mostly junior/senior high-school students from Eureka County, are attending school in Lander and Elko County.

The new Eureka Elementary school has a physical design capacity of about 300 students. The optimum capacity of the junior/senior high is about 140 students with a maximum capacity of 160 students. Consideration is being given the merits and feasibility of expansion and renovation of the existing facility versus construction of a new high school. The new Crescent Valley school will have a capacity of 120 to 140 students, pre-kindergarten to 6th grade.

Library

Current Facilities

Eureka County contracts with Elko County to provide a full-time librarian to operate the library in Eureka 25 hours a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The building housing Eureka's library was built in 1982 and currently totals 1,500 square feet of main library space. A wide selection of approximately 10,000 books and periodicals is available, with additional materials available through interlibrary loan accessed through a statewide computer database. A total of 5,080 checkouts were made from July 1995 through June 1996, with 3,718 of them being checked out by adults and the other 1,362 by young adults and children.

The Beowawe Library and the Crescent Valley Library are also contracted with the Elko County Library system. Currently, these libraries are staffed by one part-time librarian who works for approximately 4.5 hours a week, on Mondays and Thursdays in the Beowawe Library and 4.5 hours a week, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the Crescent Valley Library. The Beowawe Library is currently located in the old Courthouse, which was built in 1874 and has the capacity of 3,000 books. The Crescent Valley Library is presently located in the Town Hall, but will relocate to the new Crescent Valley Administration Building upon completion. The current library has a capacity of 2,500 books. Between the two libraries, there were 1,340 checkouts from July 1995 through June 1996. Adults account for 864 checked out books, while 476 books were checked out by young adults and children. These libraries operate on an inner-library system, which allows for the staff to supply the community with the books they want.

Senior Citizens Center

Eureka County has two senior centers to support the senior citizens of the communities. The Eureka Senior Center was renovated in 1996 in a historic building in downtown Eureka. The Center currently has three (3) full-time employees and two (2) part-time employees. Eureka's Senior Center serves lunch to approximately 15 - 30 people at the facility and approximately 6 - 15 delivered lunches to seniors of the community. This service is provided Monday through Friday. Currently the Meals on Wheels program only serves seniors within the Eureka townsite, but as of December 1, 1996, the program will be expanded to include the Diamond Valley area. The center has the capacity to serve 69 people at the facility with additional services through the Meals on Wheels program.

The Senior Center also qualifies applicants for the County Food Pantry, the Emergency Food Program and the Temporary Food Assistance Program. The Center distributes commodities through those services to approximately 50 - 60 families in the entire County. Other services provided by the Center include assisted transportation services, housekeeping services, Medicare/Medicaid, ICA representation, and the TLC Hospice Service. The TLC program supplies Hospice support to clients and their families in Eureka County. Transportation services are provided for Senior Citizens in the area within a five (5) mile radius of the Center.

The Eureka Senior Center also provides numerous educational, social and interactive activities including health and nutrition lectures, Bingo, Bridge, and Karaoke.

The Senior Center in Crescent Valley was completed in May 1995. The Center serves lunch to approximately 25 people per day. Lunch is provided to both congregate and homebound participants with the help of 3 full-time employees.

The Senior Center in Crescent Valley offers the same types of services and programs as previously mentioned regarding the Eureka Senior Center.

The Crescent Valley and Eureka Senior Centers are considered adequate for the County's current demands and have the ability to provide adequate services for future growth of both communities through 2010.

Eureka County Opera House

The Eureka County Opera House was built in the late 1880's and was recently renovated in 1991. The Opera House, which is located in the Town of Eureka, is used for many local events, such as town meetings and stage programs. The facility is also used to host such events as political party meetings and is often rented out for private use. The facility has one full-time manager, one full-time assistant and one part-time assistant in the summer.

Parks and Recreation

The Eureka County Parks and Recreation facilities provide many important benefits to a community. They give residents a place for both active and passive recreation. They provide a quiet setting for picnics and relaxation, and include unique features or open space areas for outdoor recreation. Facilities for special activities or interests benefit not only community residents, but opportunities for community involvement and participation.

In addition to the benefits gained by individual residents who use the parks and recreation facilities, trails, and open space, these facilities enhance the community, reduce crime, provide a community focal point, have environmental benefits, and assist economic development efforts by attracting business. The primary objective of parks and recreation areas is to improve the quality of life for residents within the community.

The Rodeo Grounds in Crescent Valley are located at the north end of town and are used by members of the community on a regular basis. This facility consists of an announcerís booth, an arena with stalls around it, as well as stalls that are separate from the arena. There is also a concession stand, which includes restroom facilities and showers. The arena is rented out once a year for roping and barrel racing for the use of the Christian Women's Club out of Battle Mountain, as well as being used for local events, activities, and horse shows.

Eureka has two local ball fields, Little League Ball field and Vandal Ballpark. Little League Ball field is the primary ballpark in Eureka being used for such events as little league in the early spring, and later in the season for local softball leagues. Little League ballpark is where any local tournaments are held, including the menís tournament and coed tournaments. Although bigger, Vandal Ballpark, also located in Eureka, is usually used for overflow purposes, with the exception of the local High School Baseball team. The baseball team has regular practices at this park in the spring and also plays there when playing at home. Each park has only one diamond for play.

There is one County park located in the Town of Eureka. This park is used for recreational use, BBQ use, horseshoes, and includes a playground for youngsters. The park is located one block off of Main Street, adjacent to the downtown area.

Crescent Valley has one baseball diamond. It is located in the Town Park, both being funded through the Crescent Valley Town Budget. Since the ballpark is located within the Town Park and it is the only park in the town of Crescent Valley, it is used for all outdoor functions.

 

 

Overview of the Area

 The town of Eureka is located in the southern portion of the County. Eureka is also the County Seat, and is the largest community in the County. The population in and around Eureka is estimated to be approximately 1,200 people. Eureka is located on Highway 50, and also served by SR 278. Eureka is 115 miles from Elko, Nevada, and 77 miles from Ely, Nevada. The distance to any of the surrounding cities is 240 miles from Reno, 361 miles from Las Vegas and 327 miles from Salt Lake City, Utah.

Historically, mining built Eureka in the mid-1800's, when silver and lead were discovered. By 1878, ore production in the Eureka Mining District peaked at over 118,000 tons valued at $5.2 million. More than 9,000 people lived in Eureka, making it Nevada's second largest city. By 1890, mining was bust and miners moved on to new boomtowns and there were only 1600 people left in Eureka. The industry resurfaced in 1905, peaked again in 1909, and has been followed by several periods of minor production.

In the 1860's Central Pacific Railroad utilized Beowawe as a supply point, or gateway, for the mining districts in the area. Today, the Beowawe area continues to provide a comfortable lifestyle for its 200 residents. It is located in the northern portion of Eureka County along the Humboldt River at an elevation of 4,000 feet. The Southern Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads still pass through the center of town, as does Highway 306. The majority of job opportunities in Beowawe and surrounding areas are in the mining and agricultural industries. The construction industry also offers substantial employment in the area.

Crescent Valley, at an elevation of 4,000 feet, became a residential community after attempts to farm alfalfa and operate a dude ranch failed. It has become a haven for those seeking a friendly, comfortable lifestyle. As in the 1800s, mining still plays a major role in Crescent Valley and is again on the upswing. Today, more than 400 people live in the area, located 13 miles south of Beowawe and 18 miles south of Interstate 80. The majority of job opportunities in Crescent Valley and surrounding areas are in the mining and construction industries. Agriculture also provides employment opportunities for area residents.

Eureka County recognizes that two major industries in Eureka County (mining and ranching) are unstable at times and expects to see a decline in both due to the added regulations and assessments through the Mining Reform and Range Reform Acts. Eureka County also recognizes that it is very important to work toward economic development and diversity to secure its future economic base. It plans on focusing on its most positive attributes: good schools, a small but productive labor force, little traffic, a relaxed quality of life and an extremely low crime rate, to attract and keep business.

Mining never has completely died in Eureka County, however, it has created the typical "boom and bust" economy. During the years 1981-83, Eureka County suffered an extreme economic decline. This was due to the stagnated activities in the mining industry that forced layoffs. In 1982, the Countyís unemployment rate nearly tripled in one year to 14.2%, and school enrollment dropped by 18 %. In 1990, mining accounted for 3,510 workers in Eureka County, however, ninety-two percent of these workers worked in Eureka County, but lived in another county. Only 269 mining workers actually resided in Eureka County. Unemployment dropped from 6.9% to 3.7% in 1990. Today, mining is still a major economic activity in the County. During 1996, the State of Nevada estimated that 4,990 persons were employed in mining within Eureka County.

In September of 1996, Eureka County had an unemployment rate of 6.6%. These figures do not reflect however, a correct image of labor force, job availability or unemployment rates for the Eureka County residents. Adjusted information (southern Eureka County only) from the Employment Security Department in Ely, Nevada has typically revealed that the number of persons, by place of residence, and the total labor force suggest higher unemployment rates than are reported. While mining provides a beneficial infiltration of jobs and capital into the local economy, it has not provided a stable, long term foundation for the local economy. Agriculture employs a relatively significant number of residents ( 24.7 % of the total resident work force in 1990) and has provided a stable economic base. A primary reason for the smaller labor force required for agriculture is an increase in productivity through the use of pivot irrigation systems. Such systems require less labor while attaining higher productivity.

In addition to expanding and diversifying the existing agriculture based industries that are located near the community, Eureka has the potential of developing a tourism market by focusing on its historical character. A tourism market is slowly being developed in the community of Eureka. The town of Eureka stands as one of Nevadaís most beautiful and well preserved mining towns, with many authentic brick and masonry buildings dating back to the 1870ís and still in use. Major attractions are the Eureka County Courthouse, Eureka Opera House and the Sentinel Museum. The Eureka Opera House was renovated in 1992 and is now in use as a Convention Center and has acted as a drawing card for conventions, retreats and performances. The Perdiz Sporting Clays Ranges and the Eureka Fair Grounds draw outside people to the community. Monthly and special events held at each facility are very popular. The tourism industry could be expanded immensely (i.e., tour groups, larger conventions, etc.) but can not be properly marketed until Eureka has sufficient hotel or motel rooms to accommodate such groups.

During the past year Eureka County received a $650,000 Economic Development Grant. Dollar for dollar, Eureka County matched the grant and has completed development of the Eureka Airport and a Downtown Eureka Beautification Project. The improvements at the airport include fuel tanks, a hanger and shop, and an apartment for a fixed-based operator and/or caretaker. Eureka County has contracted with a fixed-base operator for the Eureka Airport. The grant also provided for acquisition and development of off street parking, sidewalks and downtown historic beautification, which has been completed.

Public and Community Services

Eureka County exhibits all the services typical of a county of similar size. Most residents in the County have ready access to adequate police and fire protection, judicial services, etc. The following is information on public and community services available in Eureka County