Walker River rec area land donation formally accepted
The Legislative Interim Finance Committee on Tuesday, June, 20, voted to formally accept the donation of four historic ranch properties along the east fork of the Walker River that will become the Walker River Recreation Area.
Altogether, the Pitchfork Ranch, Rafter 7 Ranch, Flying M Ranch and Nine Mile Ranch total 12,155 acres of prime property that will be turned over to the Nevada Division of State Parks as a public recreational area, watershed wildlife and fish habitat. In addition, the donation includes 43 acres — called the Wabuska Gauge — to help tie the new park to the existing Mason Valley Wildlife area.
The Walker River is considered one of Nevada’s finest trout streams.
The details of the donation were worked out with state lands officials, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Walker Basin Conservancy and the Wildlife Department along with tribal, county and local agencies.
The total appraised value of the lands comes to just more than $9 million.
To jump start the process of turning the property into a state recreation area, the budget proposed by Gov. Brian Sandoval and approved by lawmakers includes $4.8 million to begin development of the area. That includes money to construct the Walker River Recreation Area’s first campground plus another $2 million to construct cabins in the new park.
“It’s going to be another jewel in the park system,” said Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno.
State Parks Administrator Eric Johnson said design on the improvements including access to the land began three months ago and they hope to break ground this fall.