Alvin R. McLane Obituaries
RENO, Nev. (AP) - Alvin McLane, one of the leading experts on Nevada's
mountains and American Indian rock art, died at a Reno hospital, his
family said Sunday. He was 71. McLane, who retired in 1996 as an
archaelogist at the Reno-based Desert Research Institute, died of
pneumonia Wednesday, said his son, Aaron, of Reno.
"Earlier last spring, he started getting sick and he got over it, but
then it got worse," the son said, adding his father had lymphoma. "He
was pretty much a Nevada expert. He's taking a lot of knowledge about
Nevada with him," he said. After retiring from the Nevada higher
education system's DRI, McLane continued to pursue archaeology as both
a consultant to state and federal agencies as well as a volunteer.
In 2004, he received a "Making a Difference" national award from the
U.S. Bureau of Land Management for his efforts to document and protect
petroglyph sites. He also was honored by the Nevada Rock Art
Foundation. Also in 2004, Gov. Kenny Guinn proclaimed a day in McLane's
honor for his "outstanding work as an archaelogist, historian,
hydrologist, geologist, mountaineer and spelunker."
In 1978, McLane wrote "Silent Cordilleras: The Mountain Ranges of
Nevada." The book identified for the first time 314 separate ranges in
the state, more than any other state except Alaska. McLane became
acquainted with the state's backcountry as few others after moving to
Nevada from West Virginia in the 1950s, said Phillip Earl, curator
emeritus of history at the Nevada Historical Society in Reno.
"I just remember him as a talented guy who knew the state well," Earl
said. "He walked it and was on the ground. He didn't just sit and learn
about it from books. "I thought he had some sort of advanced degree and
I asked him about it once, and he said he had never been to college,"
In recent years, McLane appeared in 14 episodes of the "Wild Nevada"
program produced by Reno's PBS station. He appeared frequently on the
show with his dog, Petroglyph, who also died Wednesdsay. McLane also
was a conservationist who helped found a group that successfully fought
plans to build a major resort on the upper slopes of Mount Rose near
Reno. Other survivors include two brothers.
A celebration of his life is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Nov. 4 at the
Rocksport Indoor Climbing Center in Reno.
Alvin Ray McLane, 71, passed away October 18, 2006 in a Reno hospital.
He was born in Akron, OH on December 12, 1934 to George and Nellie
(Strawderman) McLane. Alvin called Nevada his home for nearly 50 years.
Nevada lost its most interesting and long-time climber, spelunker, ski
mountaineer, historian, conservationist, archaeologist, and author.
Alvin knew the empty spots of Nevada as few others through nearly 50
years of exploring the entire state in his succession of jeeps. To fund
this exploration he worked at a wide variety of interesting jobs
including, filming, collecting ants on the top of mountain ranges, ski
patrolling, climbing instructor, hydrologic and geologic technician,
researching his writing projects, and finally as an archaeologist at
the Desert Research Institute where he 'officially' retired in 1996.
For the past decade Alvin continued to pursue archaeology as both a
consultant to various state and federal agencies as well as being an
enthusiastic volunteer documenting and protecting petroglyph sites.
Just the week before his death of pneumonia he was inventorying
petroglyphs in his favorite part of Nevada, the Snake Range. Alvin's
first interest when he arrived in Nevada from West Virginia in the late
1950s was in exploring and meticulously mapping every cave he could
find in Eastern Nevada. He started the Great Basin Grotto Chapter of
the National Speleological Society. A favorite cave in his early years
was Wind Cave in South Dakota. Natural arches and bridges also
fascinated him so he searched them out and documented their locations.
He discovered and did some of the first climbing routes in rock
climbing areas like the Wild Granites in the Toiyabe Range and Lava
Rocks in Northwestern Nevada. Alvin wrote 'Silent Cordilleras ' The
Mountain Ranges of Nevada' in 1978 which for the first time identified
314 separate mountain ranges in the state, more than in any other
state. He also authored or co-authored 13 publications dealing with
caves, archaeology and the mountains of Nevada. In 1998 Alvin tackled
the controversy about the 1844 route of John C. Fremont to Pyramid
Lake, by hiking the southerly route and seeing the same landmarks as
the earlier explorer. In the 1970's Alvin authored studies of the
Soldier Meadows, Fly Creek, and High Rock Canyon in northern Nevada as
Natural Landmarks. Each the areas are now part of the Black Rock High
Rock National Conservation Area. Recently Alvin was featured
(frequently with his dog 'Petroglyph') in 14 episodes on the 'Wild
Nevada' KNPB Channel 5 program. On one of the episodes he took viewers
to petroglyph panels to explain how early Native Americans used them to
track the changes of the season. 'Petroglyph' also died last Wednesday.
Alvin was one of the founding members of the Friends of Mount Rose.
These efforts are now appreciated by everyone who drives the upper
reaches of the Mount Rose highway or skis the backcountry powder on
Tamarack Peak. In 2004 Alvin was recognized by Governor Guinn for his
'outstanding work as an archaeologist, historian, hydrologist,
geologist, mountaineer, [and] spelunker'. The Bureau of Land Management
recognized Alvin as Nevada's leading rock art recorder at a ceremony in
Washington D. C. He also received an award from the Nevada Rock Art
Foundation. Alvin's knowledge, expertise, and eagerness to explore new
places will be sorely missed by his family and his many colleagues and
friends. Surviving relatives include son Aaron, Reno; brothers Don
(Bonnie) and Ronnie (Bonnie) McLane. Alvin is preceded in death by his
parents; brothers George, Louie and Dick; and sister Janet.