167 years ago, in 1850, my 2nd gr-grandparents and their toddler children came across Nevada in a wagon train. They passed by present day Winnemucca and turned southwest crossing the dreaded 40 mile desert, found the Carson River and followed it to Eagle Valley, where Carson City is today. They passed by Genoa which was just starting up as Nevada’s first settlement with a trading post and turned west to head up the West Fork of the Carson River to California. Along the way, near Winnemucca, my 2nd gr-grandfather was killed in a skirmish with the natives. He lies out there today.
Whether you have a story like mine or if you are like me and just enjoy the knowledge that we can jump in our SUV, bike, ATV, horse or boots and explore and recreate on endless mountains, valleys and playas, you appreciate Nevada’s Public Lands as one of the benefits to being an American.
This is why I take an owner’s interest in our Public Lands. I have noticed that our military is taking an additional 600,000 acres permanently near Fallon in addition to the huge Nellis complex near Las Vegas. Our Representative in Congress, Mr. Amodei, is proposing to give our native tribes additional thousands of acres, which they can develop as they see fit. If I were them, I would industrialize it.
In addition to this, the new Congress passed a rule this week (Jan 3, 2017) that essentially designates federal land worthless and thus removing the financial cost of giving it away to corporations, cronies and elites for their own use. This is the first step in giving away our national heritage for the benefit of a few.
Of course, they will say that Americans in the West are demanding greater local control of their public lands. They want the land given to the states. Well, what happens is, the states find they can’t afford to maintain the lands and the feds did and also see the lands as a ATM machine. So they start selling off state lands to private interests as they have been doing in Idaho and Montana. So it just takes awhile for the private land grabbers to get what they want.
Whether you are Republican or Liberal, preservationist or recreationist, all Nevadans and Americans have an equal stake in preserving our Public Lands for the Public. In this era of diminishing rights and resources, we should hold this birthright as precious for the inspiration of future Americans.
Please join me in watching this situation and calling and writing Representative Amodei, Senators Cortez-Masto, and Heller, Gov Sandoval and your state Reps and let them know your feelings on the risk of losing our freedom of, well, freedom.
Two websites have come on the scene recently that have promise to help build community here in Washoe Valley. Nextdoor is a San Francisco based startup that is identifying neighborhoods around the country and inviting the residents to join in a private site where neighbors can ask questions, give comments or information. The New Washoe City site, for the community on the east side of the valley, is called Eastlake and already has 119 members. Recent topics have been such topics as: the Mexican Food Truck, over-the-air TV reception, barking dogs and trash collection among others. I’m a member and am impressed with the helpful, respectful comments and topics so far. You can check it out at: https://nextdoor.com/invite/dvgxysvtvhrmuqpsfvtt
Another site is AlertID.com . This site has access to police reports and you can create a page with your address anywhere in the country and it will create a map with the police reports surrounding that address. You can zoom in and out to see more. You can also create multiple alert pages for multiple addresses. Some things don’t show up and others are outdated but it is still interesting.
So far both these sites are free. We are all used to free sites becoming pay sites when they get popular but so far these are free so check them out.
The goal of washoevalley.org is to build community but I think residents being able to directly communicate in a closed environment might be the best way. So I hope it is successful and that our neighborhood makes good use of it.
Threatening weather didn’t dampen the spirits at this year’s annual Celebrate Washoe Valley event. We arrived early and things were already getting lively with a great blue grass band providing entertainment. Trying to navigate all the booths was daunting. So much information in a short amount of time! I spoke to Nathan from the Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation, something I didn’t even know existed. The group promotes the parks and hosts fun events. Next I learned more about our local county parks and the progress on the Washoe Valley Scenic Byway Corridor from Cheryl of Washoe County Parks. The Byway has been approved and now work is being done to implement the plan. I was also encouraged by the amount of trails and other outdoor recreation work being done that will continue to help the local economy diversify.
Next up was Donna and Bill with the Washoe Valley Garden Group. They were giving away free onion plants and offering garden advice. The group is very successful and has many members in the valley. Not only do they bring in local experts and visit local gardens, but they have pot lucks! Sounds like a fun club. Call Donna at 775-772-4953 to sign up for their email notifications of future meetings. They are always looking for new members. Bill is also involved in the Community Horticulture & Cider Making project. More on all those topics in future posts.
Long time west valley residents had a display of old photographs of the Franktown School and teacher’s and students from the 1940s and ’50s. I saw a lot of names I recognized from the old ranches. Our valley has a lot of great history to be proud of and it was great to be able to meet and chat with some of the folks that are not only descended from the pioneers but have made history themselves. I hope to see more of them in the future and get their stories.
The local boy Scout Troop did a fine job providing grilled burgers and dogs and all the fixings. The state tree nursery on East Lake Blvd had a display and handouts on the plants and trees that will be available when they officially open next Saturday on the 23rd of May. The Lahontan Audobon Society had a great display of local stuffed birds, handouts, books and knowledgeable birders. I picked up a local wildflower guide and a Western Nevada area birding guide. The Nevada Land Trust was there also. They have done a fabulous job working with the federal agencies to buy and protect open space in our valley. Developer’s in Las Vegas want urban BLM land to develop and we want our rural vistas so it has been a symbiotic relationship.
Tables and representatives I did not get a chance to talk to because they were so busy were the Washoe Tribe, BLM and Forest Service. The Washoe Tribe had what looked like freshly made baskets and other items made in the traditional manner with reeds. That was great to see that that amazing tradition still lives. I wanted to talk to the BLM about the management plan for the Winters Ranch acreage that they have acquired. Next year we will definitely dedicate more time for this event.
In the parking lot, the Forest Service had a monstrous brush truck, Truckee Meadows Fire had two trucks and our local volunteer Fire Dept had their quick response truck. I managed to talk to them briefly and learned more about the standardized house number signs they are providing. Many times homes are hard to find because house numbers are not displayed clearly, properly or not at all. The department wants to be able to find your house as fast as possible in an emergency. I will publish a post with all the information.
Most of the services described above deserve a separate post and I will be publishing them in the coming weeks. It was really fun to meet the people behind all the services we enjoy. It was another great event and the members of the Washoe Valley Alliance deserve a big “Thank You” for putting on this event!