$750,000 purchase puts Daggett Pass land into public hands
A 123-acre site near the top of Kingsbury Grade has been purchased for $750,000 and added to the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, according to the Trust for Public Land.
The Daggett Pass property connects Carson Valley with the Lake Tahoe Basin along the old Vansickle Toll Road, which includes a section of the Pony Express trail.
The property was sold by Patricia G. Baker, the widow of Gardnerville native Dr. John M. Baker, whose family acquired the parcel in the late 1930s. Baker said that on a relatively flat area halfway up the grade, there was an area known as “Peters Station.” It was the site in the 1860s of a booming three-story hotel owned by Elizabeth and Richard Peters. The teamsters, and their heavy horse-drawn rigs, would spend the night, rest the horses, and enjoy dinner and a night’s sleep before the next day’s arduous climb.
“From their arrival in 1913, Dr. Frank Harvey Baker, the first field veterinarian in Nevada, and his wife, Ida, became immersed in the life of Carson Valley, its vibrant beauty, vivacious activity, and the people who made it such a wonderful place to live,” she said. “Its unique and early history was reflected in, and respected by, the community. Dr. Baker’s sons, John and Franklin, had the great luck of growing up in this valley. We hope that this gift will offer the opportunity for children of the valley to explore the hidden history of the Kingsbury Grade, enjoy its trails and wildlife, and view from the highest peak the green valley below – their home.”
The purchase price came from the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act . The law lets money from lands sold by the BLM be used to acquire private in-holdings in National Parks, National Forests, and BLM conservation areas.
Douglas County Commission Chairman Mike Olson said he was pleased that some of the money raised in the sale of BLM property near the Douglas-Carson line.
“It is very rewarding to see some of the nearly $39 million dollar in proceeds from prior North County BLM land sales come back to benefit the public through this acquisition,” he said.
The property will be managed by the Forest Service in coordination with Douglas County, which is turning part of the Old Kingsbury Grade into a segment of the Pony Express National Historic Trail. When that is complete, it will provide hikers, horseback riders, and bicyclists with a route between the Tahoe Basin trail system and destinations in Carson Valley.
“This is a wonderful piece of property to have in public ownership,” said Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Supervisor of the Jeanne Higgins. “It has high value in providing habitat for a number of wildlife and fish species. It protects a portion of the Daggett creek watershed and also a portion of the old pony express trail. We are very grateful for the partnership that brought this piece of land into public ownership with special thanks to The Trust for Public Land.”