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Carson Valley ranch nominated for federal land acquisition

by Christy Chalmers, staff writer

A 1,600-acre ranch in the forest above Carson Valley has been nominated for acquisition under a federal land exchange program.

The Clear Creek Ranch, located at the end of Clear Creek Road, is one of a few Northern Nevada properties that meet preliminary requirements of the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act. Under the act, proceeds from public land sold in Southern Nevada can be used to buy environmentally sensitive or unique property elsewhere.

The list, distributed by the BLM, is tentative and state BLM director Robert Abbey emphasized it doesn’t reflect plans to buy. He is asking county leaders around the state to comment on the nominees.

To be included on the list, properties must be identified for acquisition or protection in an approved federal land management plan, present no health, safety or liability issues that can’t be mitigated and have a willing seller.

The U.S. Forest Service nominated the Clear Creek Ranch, citing important wildlife habitat and recreational value. Douglas County Manager Dan Holler said an exchange would be preferable so the property wouldn’t be broken up.

“The question is do you trade a portion of it for property and some for purchase, or do you go as a whole unit,” he said. “The Forest Service is reluctant to break that up” and would prefer a trade involving the whole property.

Four other properties in the Carson Valley – the Byington, Hussman, Henningsen and River Fork ranches – were nominated but rejected because they aren’t identified for protection or acquisition in an approved land use plan.

The two other closest properties to Douglas County on the list are in Carson City and Washoe Valley. Some 457 acres along the Carson River in Carson City were included because of recreational, open space, riparian and wildlife habitat.

In Washoe Valley, 134 acres known as the Casey property was nominated for its visual, wildlife and riparian values.

Douglas County leaders are scheduled to comment on the list Thursday. Holler predicted they will agree with the list and send a letter reflecting that concurrence.

The commission meets at 1 p.m. at the old courthouse, 1616 Eighth St., Minden.