Horse park opinion particularly one-sided

Denise Beronio's Guest Opinion "Horse Park Important to Future of Valley" (R-C Aug. 29) is as one-sided as a flop-eared mule so here's some counterpoints to consider.

She begins " and continues throughout her discourse " with the premise that Park Cattle Co.'s wish to turn old pastureland into a DisneyWorld for horsies is the greatest thing to ever happen to sleepy 'ol Douglas County. In paragraph four she compares what has happened in Kentucky (the horse capital of the world) to what could happen here: Over one million visitors per year. Is Douglas County's infrastructure prepared to take on one million visitors per year? I'm talking roads, water and sewer, police and fire, low-cost housing, and on and on and on. How is HorsieWorld going to help pay for this new exponential demand on our few resources? It's certainly not in their present proposal which is somewhat horsepie-in-the-sky

Then she tells us the horsies won't just be in her HorsieWorld. They're going to be all over the ever-lovin' county. Even up in the hills exploiting "the abundant recreational opportunities in the Sierra Nevada." We all know everywhere horsies go, horse plop is sure to follow. Eventually, if not on an annual snow melt basis, this horse plop will be filtering down into the Carson River and even into our underground water supplies.

And Beronio is talking 900 horsies here " not just a pony or two. One study I found noted that a 1,200-pound horse produced about 11 tons of manure per year; with bedding it is 14 tons per year. That's tons of pure manure, folks, that something will have to be done with. So we're talking some 25 million pounds of new manure in Carson Valley each year " over and above what the cattle and politicians produce. What can we " or should we " say to an industry proposal that promises to leave us with that much pure toxic waste? And this doesn't even consider the horsie's other unmentionable waste product that will seep directly into the soil.

And now, how about the location at Muller and Highway 395 " already Douglas County's busiest intersection at 80,000 plus cars per day? Beronio is talking about increasing that load by a full 25 percent, which ain't gonna make for a pretty sight with the big mall already under way there. In case you haven't noticed, horsies don't travel so well in your family sedan. They travel in very long trailers and semis which have been rumored to not exactly benefit traffic flow.

In summation Beronio and the Park Cattle Co. see Douglas County in their purely for-profit dreams being another combo Jackson Hole-San Jose-Lexington-Ocala as a "preservation of the cowboy spirit" (perhaps taking for granted we are all of cowboy descent and not the transplants most of us really are). I see the proposal as a vehicle for the already rich Park Cattle Co. to: 1) Endow us with 25 million pounds of toxic manure per year; 2) Further overburden our infrastructure with no compensatory payment plan; 3) Clog our streets and freeways; 4) Possibly leave a huge visual reminder of an abysmal business plan on our landscape forever; and 5) Simply cut-and-run if their very speculative plan fails. Call me short-sighted or whatever (I've been called worse), but I just can't see how this business venture could ever possibly be a benefit to our county, our valley, our way of life.

This matter should be put to a vote of the entire electorate of Douglas County only after: 1) An independent environmental impact statement has been thoroughly conducted; 2) An independent economic feasibility study is conducted; and 3) A commensurate default bond figure is determined should this venture fail. There is no need to rush-rush-rush to decision on this matter. It is in the best long-term interests of all Douglas County (including Park Cattle Co. and the Nevada Horse Park) to proceed with extreme caution and due process here.

n Steve Lang is a 13-year resident of Carson Valley and editor of


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