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Ely is the largest city and county seat of White Pine County, Nevada. Its population at the 2010 census was 4,225.
The town had a mining boom when copper was discovered in 1906. Tourism is now a major activity here. The Nevada Northern Railway Museum is located here, and nearby are Great Basin National Park, Cave Lake State Park, and Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park, as well as the state parks of Lincoln County, Nevada. A historical village is also maintained.
The Silver State Classic Challenge course runs here and attracts entries from all over the world. The Bureau of Land Management has an area supporting an elk herd south of town. The Ely Elk Viewing Area offers visitors the opportunity to see an elk community.
The population has a majority of White Americans. A significant percentage of the population comprises people of Hispanic origin, and a small percentage of the population comprises Native Americans.