B. Borden, J. Lednicky, L.Thomas, M. Rebori 2021, Nevada Economic Assessment Project Socioeconomic Baseline Report for Pershing County, Nevada, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno

Purpose

The purpose of this report is to provide and use data to showcase socioeconomic and other trends in a county in Nevada. This will give local decision makers—elected officials, educators, nonprofits—the ability to better understand their constituents’ needs.

Counties statewide and nationwide are constantly challenged to make decisions revolving around economic, demographic, and land issues. This crafted report is a tool to respond to those issues with quantitative backings that can help make a case for any decision big or small. These backings are rightfully called a “county baseline,” wherein data that covers all social, demographic, economic, and land measures is delivered in a kindly and easy-to-browse manner. This allows counties to utilize the report as they see fit, and best respond to any current issue with quantitative data.

In short, this report helps counties and communities better understand what makes up their counties and communities. Varying factors in an economic climate, like businesses opening and closing; population increasing or decreasing; and average household size growing and shrinking, all of these factors put pressure on government and businesses themselves to make decisions and react to change. Any possible measure or statistic that may go towards helping make a better decision is included in this report.

It is also important to note that this report is not a one-time attempt at trying to make a one-time change. This report represents a commitment to communities, to counties, to the state, and beyond. Being a data repository of key measures, meaningful for communities, counties, and officials, its purpose is to reach out and help fill those gaps in decision-making, so that everyone may benefit.

Report Layout

Data was gathered from a variety of sources and compiled into a report broken down into easy-to-digest sections.

The report is broken down into six main sections:

  • Demographic Characteristics covers general population demographics, such as population, age, and race
  • Social Characteristics delves into poverty, education, school districts, and other aspects that impact the overall well-being of a community
  • Economic Characteristics examines industry trends, including jobs, average annual earnings, and personal income breakdowns. This section also looks at the Gross Regional Product for the county and its industries, as well as Per Capita Income and how that compares to the statewide level
  • NAICS Sectors takes an in-depth look at how industry contributes to the county’s economy. This includes measures of jobs, imports, earnings, and more.
  • Land Use and Fiscal Characteristics details relevant data involving county land, taxes, and fiscal matters
  • Community Assets is a qualitative look into the existing and desired qualities of the community

Within these sections are subsections consisting of specific economic data, accompanied by detailed tables and corresponding figures. Throughout the report there is an emphasis on changes and trends over the course of given time periods. Accompanying each table and figure are short analyses that highlight these changes and trends.

Cultural Overview

Introduction

Pershing County was founded in 1919, and is the last county established inNevada. Within the 6,000 square miles that makeup Pershing, one will find a wide range of geographical features, such as mountains, lakes, rivers, and beautiful flatlands. The county is home to 6,661 (DETR, 2017), with a large portion of those folks residing in the largest city and county seat of Lovelock. Located about an hour and a half northeast of Reno, Interstate 80 will take you directly through the middle of Pershing running southwest to northeast. The 2018 book, Pershing County: 100 Years describes Pershing County as “rich in history, scenic wonders, close-knit communities, a diverse economy, and an even more diverse population.”

History

Pershing County is Nevada’s youngest county, not counting Carson City. Pershing’s territory was formed from Humboldt County, and much of Pershing’s early history is intertwined with Humboldt’s. For example, anyone interested in genealogical tracing through Pershing is recommended to visit Humboldt’s archives (see Genealogy Trails). The longstanding rivalry with Humboldt in Pershing’s early days inspired the County Commission to the 1921 construction of the Pershing County Courthouse. This building, with its Roman Pantheon design, aimed to outdo its neighbor’s buildings, and to this day remains in its original construction. It is the place point of Nevada Historical Marker 17.

Before Pershing’s founding and the construction of the courthouse, its to-be county seat Lovelock was a favored resting place for settlers and miners on their way through Nevada. Soon enough, in 1868, well after mining had become integral to the surrounding area, the Central Pacific Railroad was built, running through Lovelock. By 1900, there was a school, churches, and a business district. By 1919, with an increasing community, Pershing was formed. To this day, Lovelock remains a small, residential, agricultural and mining town.

In September 2018, approaching the centennial celebration founding of Pershing, a book was released titled Pershing County: 100 Years. Its purpose is to tell the story of Pershing from the point of view of the citizens who know it best. Baobab Press describes the book as follows:

The four contributors, all with deep roots in Pershing County, offer an engaging account of the county’s settlement, which spans many millennia from the wandering hunter-gatherers of ancient times to more recent arrivals from Europe, China, and Latin America. Here are stories of mining booms, ghost bustling twenty-first-century mines; Native Americans and pioneers; community leaders, ranchers, and eccentrics, and the development of Lovelock, the county’s administrative seat and one of the most charming and livable small towns in the West.

This book is highly recommended to anyone who wants to know Pershing’s history. Other recommendations include Hugh Shamberger’s “The story of Seven Troughs” and “The story of Rochester,” which focus more on Pershing’s mining history.

Landscape and Climate

Climate in Pershing is quite dry, offering on average just 8 inches of rain each year. This is well below the national average of 38 inches. Similar to rainfall, Pershing sees well below the national average of snowfall at only 11 inches per year. When it comes to sun, the county offers on average 228 sunny days each year. Many of these days in the summer months bring very warm temperatures. Average highs in July are around 95 degrees.

85% of lands fall into the shrubland and grassland categories. These lands are characterized by large open areas with few trees and areas dominated by shrubs, herbs, and other geophytes; both are considered warm and dry (National Geographic, 2020). With an average elevation of around 4,000 ft, Pershing sits well above sea level. Of the 6,037 square miles that is Pershing County, only 31 square miles (0.5%) of those are water (Community Resources, n.d.). Water in the north can be found near the Rye Patch State Recreation Area. This area consists of the upper and lower Pitt-Taylor Reservoirs along with the Rye Patch Reservoir. To the south, Humboldt and Toulon Lakes provide water sources to the county, while the Humboldt River runs across Pershing bottom to top.

Community and Events

In regards to community events and outdoor recreation, Pershing County is rich in opportunities. Typically held the last weekend in July, the Lovelock Frontier Days are a three-day event with live music, games for all ages, and a parade. Also held in Lovelock, the Sean Miller Memorial Ranch Rodeo runs in late May and includes team roping, tie down roping, and big loop cow roping.

For outdoor recreation and fresh air, citizens and visitors seek out the Humboldt Range for hikes. These hikes run from Imlay in the north, to the junction in the West Humboldt Range in the south. The Humboldt Range is home to Star Peak, which is the highest point in Pershing. Other outdoor recreation activities include hunting for turkeys, pheasants, chuckers, big horn sheep, and mountain lions. ATV and UTV riding is also popular in Pershing, and riders can visit the Dun Glen trails located just northeast of Imlay and Mill City.

Those seeking some history and unique finds in Pershing can visit one of the nine ghost towns such as Star City or Farrell. Most famously, visitors themselves attending Burning Man, one of the state’s unique events that takes place each year within Pershing County. Located in the Black Rock Desert, this event brings in over 70,000 people from around the world and is generally held the week prior to Labor Day.

In addition to seasonal and annual events, Pershing County remains close-knit and yet self-reliant through general community involvement. This is evidenced by the local organizations that help bring the community together: the Pershing County Commission, the Pershing County Law Enforcement Association, the Pershing County Economic Development Authority, Pershing County Nevada 4-H, and more. Every week, the Pershing County Community Center is hosting a new event, and Pershing citizens are involving themselves in their cross-county community.

For the complete report use the link provided below to download the PDF version.

Learn more about the author(s)

 

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Associated Programs

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Nevada Economic Assessment Project (NEAP)

The Nevada Economic Assessment Project focuses on providing Nevada’s counties, state and federal agencies, and their partners with quantitative and qualitative baseline data and analyses to better understand the counties’ demographic, social, economic, fiscal and environmental characteristics, trends and impacts. The data can be used for land use and project planning, grant writing and overall policy assessment.

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