Pahrump Valley Times

Pahrump marked as extraterrestrial tourist destination

The Nevada Division of Tourism is pushing a travel itinerary in the state for those interested in the existence of life beyond earth’s atmosphere; life forms that may have already visited the “blue planet.”

The effort could also help boost tourism in rural parts of the state.

The state’s tourism division, commonly known as TravelNevada, designed an alien-inspired UFO stopover driving route, a 487-mile, 2.284e-11 light-year itinerary, at the end of December. The move comes in the wake of the discovery of a Department of Defense program with $22 million in annual appropriation tasked with investigating reports of unidentified flying objects (UFOs). The program had Nevada ties.

Chris Moran, public relations specialist at TravelNevada, said in an email the tourism division “wrote this light-hearted itinerary as if actual aliens might be taking this trip.”

Moran said TravelNevada was trying to take advantage of the new buzz surrounding the story in the Times.

“Because Nevada has the Extraterrestrial Highway, it was a great centerpiece to develop a road trip itinerary to get folks out of Las Vegas and into Nevada’s rural counties — Lincoln, Nye and Esmeralda,” she said. “We even worked with the Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah, which was offering a room special to aliens — but I don’t know if any aliens actually took them up on the deal.”

The itinerary stretches across Pahrump and Tonopah, TravelNevada reported in a news release.

In Pahrump, TravelNevada said the town was the site where Martians landed in 1996 in the film “Mars Attacks!”

The state’s tourism division points to several Pahrump attractions for tourists coming through on the three-day map of stops: Jetpack America at the Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club, the Pahrump Valley Winery, and Sanders Family Winery were all listed as good places to stop during a visit to the local area.

Nevada connection

The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program, which began in 2007 and shut down in 2012, found its millions in annual appropriation with the aid of former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid in the program’s early years, according to a Dec. 16 report by the New York Times.

According to the Times, contracts were unearthed showing the program received federal funding from 2008 to 2011. Though the program was shut down in 2012, according to the Defense Department, the program’s backers said “the program remains in existence,” according to the Times’ report.

The funding also landed in Nevada, at North Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace, founded by billionaire and longtime friend of Reid, Robert Bigelow, the Times reported.

Other destinations in Nevada

The three-day tour, which starts in Las Vegas, according to the itinerary, with various stops on Las Vegas Boulevard on the first “solar day” of traveling, also includes a trip to the Valley of Fire State Park near Overton. There, scenes from “Star Trek: Generations” were filmed in the 1990s.

Things heat up on Solar Day 2 when those following the route to head west on Highway 375, better known as the “Extraterrestrial Highway,” where sightseers can drive down a few dirt roads to the south toward Area 51 along their trip. Look for signage indicating this, the division posted on its website.

TravelNevada reminds tourists to obey all posted signage and not to pass through the gates of the Nevada Test and Training Range, where Area 51 is located.

Tourists should end their second day in Tonopah, where things like the Tonopah Historic Mining Park, the Central Nevada Museum and the Tonopah Brewing Co. are waiting. The Mizpah Hotel offered a 20 percent discount through the end of January to sightseers who have an intergalactic ID, TravelNevada said in a news release.

The third and final solar day takes tourists through Tonopah and then down through Goldfield, where the International Car Forest of the Last Church art installation sits.

From there, it’s down to Beatty and then Pahrump. For those doing the full circle, they’ll head back to Las Vegas to check out the not-so-mysterious lights in the night sky.

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes