Don Bently proposes land swap |

Don Bently proposes land swap

by Christy Chalmers, Record-Courier staff writer

Carson Valley businessman Don Bently is confident a land swap involving thousands of acres around northern Nevada and California will proceed, but it will take time.

Bently said Thursday the Bureau of Land Management suggested a land swap about a year ago. If a proposal he submitted proceeds, the end result could mean consolidation and expansion of the Bently Family Limited Partnership’s agricultural interests.

“We’ve been talking about it informally,” said Bently. “I hope it does proceed. It would put a lot of property on the tax rolls.”

A summary of the proposal says Bently would exchange five blocks of land totalling 17,400 acres in Carson City, Churchill, Douglas and Lyon counties in Nevada and Mono County, Calif., for 32,000 acres of Forest Service and BLM land in Douglas and Alpine County, Calif.

John Singlaub, director of the BLM field office in Carson City, said there’s “certainly a lot of interest” in the possible swap, but formal commitments have not been made.

“At this point, we are just kind of contemplating what has been proposed by the Bently folks,” he said. “Right now, no active exchange is going on. Any exchange that we do will be run through the public process.”

Most of the public land Bently identified in the proposal is BLM land, but 5,000 acres near Mud Lake in south Douglas County and 2,000 acres in Alpine County belong to the Forest Service.

Ed DeCarlo, a forester with the Carson Ranger District, said a swap is not one of the Forest Service’s priorities.

“We are aware of the proposal. It just doesn’t match up with our priorities at this point in time,” he said.

DeCarlo said public interest guides the agency’s priorities, and comments indicating support could boost Forest Service attention to the possible swap.

“We have to have public support for it to fly,” he said. “If the county and the public say this makes sense, that makes it easier for us to move this up in a priority process.”

Acquiring the BLM land would give Bently room to expand his operations. He said much of the land he is proposing to trade is in smaller pieces scattered throughout the Pine Nut Mountains. The land is open and not in agricultural use but does include springs that would be transferred with the acreage, he said.

Bently said the land he’d like to acquire would be added to existing agricultural operations.

“This is good farmland, and that’s how I intend to keep it,” he said.

The government property Bently might acquire includes 25,000 acres on the east side of the Carson Valley near the Pine Nut Mountains. Bently’s proposal says the land could be used for agriculture if it can be irrigated.

The 5,000 acres near the Mud Lake reservoir are next to current Bently lands. The remaining 2,000 acres, located in Alpine County, also adjoin Bently property.

Bently said no appraisals have been done on his land or the BLM property and didn’t know what the dollar value of the transaction would be.

Bently’s offer to the BLM includes 11,000 acres in the Pine Nuts, 900 acres on either side of the Carson River on the north end of Carson Valley and 2,480 acres in Carson City that straddle the former V&T railroad right of way and part of the Pine Nuts.

He’s also offering to trade 1,920 acres in Churchill County and 1,100 acres at Sonora Junction on Highway 395 in Mono County, Calif.

The proposal notes that some of the land Bently is offering to trade could be used for recreation, while other parcels contain meadows, springs and important wildlife habitat.