What originally started out as a means of connecting the Carson River to central Valley ranches is well on its way to providing a pedestrian connection between Minden and Gardnerville and perhaps allowing residents of both towns to connect with nature.
Work on turning Martin Slough into a pathway from Lampe Park to Minden started a decade ago with construction of two ponds straddling Gillman Avenue next to Chichester Estates.
The Martin Slough Nature Trail consists of 18 acres and includes a walkway and park benches overlooking the ponds.
Similar work on Jake's Wetland and Wildlife Meadow, which is also on Martin Slough, was completed last year.
Minden Town Engineer Bruce Scott pointed out both areas and the eventual pathway connecting them will be far more than a park, but not necessarily in the normal sense of the word.
"It's an open space greenbelt," he said. "It's a multiple-purpose, multiple-benefit open space area, and it helps bring Gardnerville and Minden together."
He said those expecting manicured lawns may find something else entirely on the pathway along Martin Slough.
"People need to remember that they can't expect to see a mowed lawn," he said. "It's got whole lot more than a mowed lawn, it has wildlife, all types of vegetation. Lampe Park is a wonderful place to go, but it's not going to mitigate a flood like the Martin Slough will."
Work on the pathway got a boost on Thursday when developers of The Ranch at Gardnerville announced they were nearly doubling the size of the slough pathway with the donation of more than 30 acres to the town of Gardnerville.
The addition will add 2,500 feet to the pathway extending from Carson Valley Middle School to behind Gardner Circle.
Genoa resident and Ranch at Gardnerville member Greg Painter confirmed the donation and said the project will donate construction and landscaping to the town worth an estimated $150,000.
"It's going to be helpful and the Ranch at Gardnerville improvements are going to make a big difference in allowing a significant portion of the slough to be available for passive recreation," Scott said.
The Ranch will pay to build and landscape the pathway, which should be open and ready for the public in late fall 2008.
Heading south, a deal with the Hellwinkel family could complete the path from the back of Carson Valley Middle School to Gardnerville Elementary School.
Engineering work on crossing a portion of the Hellwinkel property is under way but may hit a snag.
The town has $307,250 grant from the Nevada Clean Water, Parks and Wildlife Bond, also known as Question 1.