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Public Land Grab Gathering Steam

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.



Winters Ranch Overlook Hike

By Ron.

We recently discovered a new trail to explore in the valley and would like to share it with your readers. This trail appears to be a “new” fire road that connects the northwest side of the valley with the Mount Rose Highway just downhill of the old Reindeer Lodge. While the road is now gated, it may be open to vehicles in the summer. It offers outstanding views of the valley, Washoe City and Pleasant Valley. Along the route one can also see all the “fuels reduction’ work that has gone on recently to reduce fire danger in our beautiful forests on the west side. It looks like most if not all of this trail is on Forest Service property.

Directions: The trailhead is .7 miles north of the entrance to Davis Creek Park on the west side access road to I-580 just past the NDOT maintenance yard. There is a locked gate on the road but there is also a sign that says “Foot Traffic Welcome”. How they imagined we are supposed to do that is up to your imagination. There is no access around the gate which connects barb-wire fencing on either side. Access to the trail is gained by clamoring over the gate and you can see that the gate has suffered already. We have seen other trailheads that employ a kind of “jog-entry” that accommodates horses, hikers and bicycles but not vehicles. Hopefully they will add this feature but for now access is limited to the limber with a dog small enough to lift over or squeeze through the gate bars.

Trail Description: The trail winds upward through open country for about a mile before entering a treed bench area. Since the forest has been cleared of excessive trees and underbrush (ladder fuels, in defensible space lingo) the appearance is quite “park-like” and pleasant. In the long view, there are stunning views southward across the valley of our verdant pastures and shimmering lake. To the west is the foothills and mountains of the Carson Range in a new, dramatic relief. Off to the north can be seen a bird’s eye view of historic Washoe City and Pleasant Valley in the distance. We stopped at the two mile mark but the road continues on for several more miles before connection with the Mount Rose Highway. This would be a great loop trail for mountain bikers and a point-to-point trail for hikers and equestrians when the gates are open. As with most hikes in our area, plan on packing water for dogs as it is dry.

Washoe Lake

A rider enjoys the sunny weather last weekend along the shore of Washoe Lake at Washoe Lake State Park.

Davis Creek Trail

Scenes along the Ophir Creek Trail.
We took a hike up the trail this morning since the summer heat has finally broken. Just a hint of color starting in the cottonwoods up at the “rock pile”. It was great to see so much water flowing in the creek in late September. The pic of the tree trunk shows the result, I think, of bears tearing off the bark looking for bugs. No wildlife spotted on this trip save for a hawk over the canyon. We also checked our geocache “Royal Flush” that we placed in 2003 and it is still there and looks great with many visits logged in the log book. We will go up again when there is more fall color.