Basque Sheepherder Monument

The Basque Sheepherder Monument in Rancho San Rafael Park has been restored with new Donor and Memorial Plaques. The original bronze plaques, which contained many names of Western Basque sheepherders and their families, were stolen in January 2012 and believed to have been resold for the value of their bronze. Washoe County park authorities, District Manager Andy Mink, and Carmelo Urza worked with the sign company to restore the monuments plaques and correct name misspellings and blank spaces on the new plaques. Urza is one of the original organizers of the monument and the author of Solitude, a book about the monument.

“We are really grateful to District Manager Andy Mink and the Washoe County Open Space and Regional Parks Commission for their work in having the plaques reconstructed and replaced,” said Urza. “The plaques are beautiful, and the site once again provides a permanent tribute to the story of Basque emigration to the United States.”

The monument was created by Basque artist Nestor Basterretxea and depicts a Basque sheepherder carrying a lamb beneath a moon. The monument was designed to represent the sheepherder and his descendants in the American West, as well as all Basques throughout the world.

The Basque monument is not yet complete. An additional plaque is going to be added to the monument for other descendants of Basque immigrants who wish to add their names or the names of their loved ones to the monument. For more information about adding a name to the new plaque, please contact

The Reno Basque Picnic on July 21 is the perfect opportunity for picnic goers to visit the newly restored monument. The turnoff to the monument is located north of McCarran Blvd. on North Virginia St. in Reno.