Saratoga Springs (Death Valley)

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Coordinates: 35°40′54″N 116°25′25″W / 35.68167°N 116.42361°W / 35.68167; -116.42361[1]

Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs is a desert oasis located in southern Death Valley National Park in California. The wetland lies at the southern tip of the Ibex Hills, on the floor of Death Valley and just northeast of the Amargosa River. Several springs overflow into pools totaling 6.6 acres (2.7 ha) in area, making the site the third largest marsh in the park. The pools provide habitat for several endemic species, including the Saratoga Springs pupfish. Other rare species present include the Amargosa tryonia snail, the Amargosa springsnail, the Saratoga Springs belostoma bug, the Amargosa naucorid bug, and the Death Valley June beetle.[2] Plant life includes common reeds, bulrush and saltgrass.[3]

The springs were probably named in 1871 by the Wheeler Survey after the resort town of Saratoga Springs, New York, and were an important water source for the twenty-mule teams of the 1880s. The area saw a failed nitrate rush in 1902, and similarly unsuccessful attempts to mine gold and silver in the middle part of the decade. The Pacific Nitrate Company arrived in 1909 and built a small camp, but left within a few years. From the 1930s through the 1960s the springs provided water for the successful talc mines in the nearby Ibex Hills.[4]

Except for two partially collapsed stone structures, little evidence remains of human habitation at the spring.[4] A dirt road provides access to an overlook of the area,[5] but human entry into the wetland itself is prohibited in order to the protect the sensitive habitat.[6]

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