VFIRVC_100719_157
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Changing modes of travel greatly affected the Valley of Fire in the early 20th century. First the railroad, then a new federal highway diverted traffic from the wagon road network of the 19th century. For a short time, an important regional road passed directly through the future park, but by 1925 the Valley of Fire once again enjoyed lonely solitude. Unexpectedly, the new science of archaeology attracted people to the park and the isolated region of southeastern Nevada.
Nevada Governor James G. Scrugham believed tourists would come to Nevada to see the ruins of Anasazi villages on the lower Muddy River. He tried to establish a state recreation area there in the 1920s, but the Boulder (Hoover) Dam construction project prevented it. The tourism value of these sites and the Valley of Fire's dramatic red cliffs with their "Indian writings" finally was realized ten years later, when Valley of Fire became a state park.
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