Southern Nevada Conservancy: Map Tells Story of Red Rock Canyon, Makes Desert Come Alive

Just a 30-minute drive from the bright lights of Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area encompasses nearly 200,000 acres within the Mojave Desert and is renowned for its geologic interest and beauty. It is also the featured public land for Xplorer Maps’ most recently released map, created in partnership with Southern Nevada Conservancy.

With around 1.2 million visitors per year, Red Rock Canyon is known for gorgeous sunsets above desert mountains, along with world-class hiking and rock climbing, and is open year-round. Southern Nevada Conservancy has been a nonprofit cooperating association for nearly 30 years and has 45 employees across the four sites it manages. Thirty employees are dedicated to Red Rock Canyon.

Red Rock Canyon hand-drawn mapManaged by the Bureau of Land Management, Red Rock Canyon has visitors ranging from locals to international tourists, according to Andy Hart, the executive director of SNC. The busiest month is October with vibrant autumn colors and ideal hiking weather, but some tourists like to visit Red Rock Canyon and nearby Death Valley in the summer to experience the temperatures, Hart said.

 “Death Valley can be 128 degrees in the summer, and people want to know what that feels like. Red Rock Canyon is a more manageable, 114 degrees,” he said with a laugh. “We open at 6 a.m. when it’s only 85 degrees, and people come out with their bikes and ride the 13-mile Scenic Drive and then head to the pool.”

Because it is a conservation area and not a national park, visitors can bring pets with them to explore the maze of canyons and peaks, ledges and chimneys, and chutes and gullies of Red Rock Canyon. This works especially well for the increasing number of Millennials who are looking for unique experiences in recreation areas. “They want to get out and see and do, and then post on social media.”

Communication and Recommendations from PLA Membership Key to Successful Partnership

 Southern Nevada Conservancy and Xplorer Maps connected two years ago at the Public Land Alliance annual trade show. A map lover, Hart said he noticed Xplorer Maps’ booth with beautiful, hand-drawn maps such as Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks and had to stop to chat. He then had conversations with a number of PLA members and got glowing recommendations about Xplorer Maps.

Getting a good recommendation from a fellow PLA member is “the best review a vendor can get for his product,” Hart said. “We all have the end goal to connect people to public land. It’s like a family when you see the same people year after year, and you can learn everyone’s name. A good review is very meaningful.”

One of the best things about working with Xplorer Maps to create the Red Rock Canyon map was that Greg Robitaille, the company president, was a good communicator.

“Greg told us that Xplorer Maps would love to do Red Rock Canyon but that he needed time to make it happen and get the project done to the high standards the company demands for itself,” Hart said. “So much work went into understanding our place and making sure the details were not only beautiful but accurate. That has made the end product become special.”

With the map now in stores, Hart said the artwork will draw people in. “The map tells a story about Red Rock Canyon – about the flora, fauna, and significant geologic events. It’s a reminder of the diversity of the landscape and wildlife. It’s not a barren desert – it is alive.”

Hart said the uniqueness of the artwork will make the product a top seller in the visitor center. “It’s a seamless blend of maps and artwork and will appeal to many different people.”


Top photo caption: Andy Hart, executive director of Southern Nevada Conservancy, pictured between rocks in Red Rock Canyon.

Photo caption: Hand-drawn map of Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area.