Van Sickle ranch easement clears last hurdles

Van Sickle Ranch lies on either side of Muller Lane near Foothill Road.

Van Sickle Ranch lies on either side of Muller Lane near Foothill Road.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

The effort to preserve the ranch that still bears Henry Van Sickle’s name cleared two hurdles in time for his 200th birthday.

Born July 28, 1822, Van Sickle was a 30-year-old blacksmith when he arrived in Carson Valley in 1852, according to an obituary published in the Genoa Weekly Courier on Nov. 30, 1894.

“For years he kept the old Van Sickle station at the foot of the Kingsbury Grade and was one of the best-known men on the coast,” the Courier opined.

Van Sickle was one of the first three commissioners appointed in 1861 to organize the county in the newly formed Nevada territory, before twice being elected to the office.

On Thursday, Douglas County commissioners approved an agreement to monitor a conservation easement on 417.84 acres of the Van Sickle Station Ranch and accepted dedication of 4,920 feet of trail easement south of Muller Lane on property owned by the Teig Family.

Those actions are the last things required before the five-year process to obtain a conservation easement on the property.

Gail Teig told commissioners that her family has owned the property for 26 years.

“We value its place in history and are proud to preserve it,” she said at the March 17 meeting. “We’ve pursued a conservation, easement, though there were many times we were ready to throw in the towel.”

But like Van Sickle before her, Teig said they fell in love with the place.

“We’ve stayed the course,” she said. “We believe in the value of open space, green space and agriculture.”

Tieg and Legacy Land and Water are donating $8,000 to conduct an annual site inspection and report each year over the next two decades.

Jacques Etchegoyhen said the ranch bring 2,000 acre feet of water rights and joins another 18,000 acres of ranch land preserved in Carson Valley.

With approval of the easement, the Teig family may continue to work the property as a cattle ranch and can sell it to someone else for that purpose, but no homes may be built.

“The only permanent planning tool at our disposal in Nevada is a conservation easement,” Etchegoyhen said on Thursday.

The ranch was nominated for a conservation easement acquisition in 2017 under the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act.

Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the program has changed in the meantime reducing the money being paid per acre to private owners to preserve open space.

That’s why the Park family, which owns 2,835 acres around the Historic Dangberg Home Ranch that was under consideration for an easement, withdrew from the program.

The trail easement includes a 20-foot wide right-of-way extending to the trailhead for the Nature Conservancy.

The trail will require additional easements from the Bently Family, Shanna Williams and the Minden Gardnerville Sanitation District.

The trail easement starts on the west side of Long Field, owned by Bently. That property has been on the market since before Christopher Bently decided to sell the Heritage Distillery and other ranch property in the Valley.


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