A Las Vegas man and his elderly mother were stranded overnight July 16 on Corn Creek Road, also known as Alamo Road.
County Sheriff Kerry Lee said Alan Chandler and his 87-year-old mother, name not given, both of Las Vegas, had been driving along the Corn Creek road Saturday, when their 2016 Toyota Forerunner got stuck in the “poof dirt” that has been in the news lately.
He said a cell phone call to 911 about 7 a.m. was received from a man requesting assistance to be towed out where his vehicle had gotten stuck “somewhere on what they called the Alamo Road” in the area of Desert National Wildlife Refuge.
Deputies were sent to the area, and initially did not locate the Chandlers, but later using a patrol truck pickup with a higher under clearance did locate the pair who were in good condition, and returned them to Alamo. “We’ll take the people to safety,” Lee said, “but it is up to them to arrange to have their vehicle towed out.”
Chandler said while driving on the road Saturday he got stuck in the “poof dirt” and they had to stay in the car all night. In the morning, he was able to hike to a higher elevation where he could find cell service. Lee said, “This couple was extremely fortunate.”
Previously published reports have warned about people going on recreational outings to avoid that area.
Wildlife agency officials say the road is “very hazardous” on one particular stretch in the northern part of the 1.6 million acre refuge, about half of which is in Lincoln County.
“The road has turned to powder where it crosses Desert Dry Lake and the chances of getting stuck there are very good,” said Christy Smith of the Desert Wildlife Refuge complex.
Rob Vinson, manager of the Pahranagat and Moapa Valley National Refuges, has also warned of driving out there. “On the west side of the dry lake is a section that vehicles are just getting stuck in the sand too deep to drive out.”
He noted there is no, or very limited cell service in the remote area, no water, and slim chances of being found quickly.
Vinson said, “The Alamo road is a very touristy road, lot of people go down it just to do off-roading, but the road also goes through that stretch of the dry lake and you can’t get off it. We are wanting to warn people of conditions out there that may not be suitable for those who are not prepared. Nobody really anticipates getting stuck, and with the temperatures being as hot as they have been lately, a person needs to be aware.”
He said people from both Lincoln and Clark County do go there for recreational driving. “From the Pahranagat Refuge, you can drive on the Alamo Road all the way to the Desert Refuge Visitors Center at Corn Creek. It’s about 72 miles. But you are not allowed to take ATVs on refuge lands and you have to stay on the existing road.”
Vinson said for anyone venturing along the Alamo Road, take plenty of water, a spare tire and recovering equipment, such as a jack, a wench, a come-along, or a buddy in a second vehicle that you could hook up to and pull yourself out if you do get stuck.