Douglas lands bill could see daylight after Easter break
March 23, 2013
The Douglas County Lands Bill should be introduced in Congress after the Easter break, County Manager Steve Mokrohisky told members of the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
It has been more than a year since county commissioners green-lighted sending the bill to Washington, D.C. The project has been in the works since 2009, when the first public meeting was held to present the idea. It took two years to get through a series of meetings with federal, recreational and business representatives so maps were ready for the public in 2011.
Converting the 13,000 acres of the Burbank Canyon Wilderness Study Area on the east slope of the Pine Nut Mountains to wilderness area prompted most of the comments about the bill, according to Legacy Lands & Water. It also includes proposals to dispose of public land between Topsy Lane and Jacks Valley Road that has become a dump site, and designating that Douglas County would have some say over what happens with federal land slated for disposal along the west slope of the Pine Nuts. The land between Topsy and Jacks Valley Road also would be useful for a proposed extension of Vista Grande Boulevard.
County Commissioner Doug Johnson said this month that the lands bill received positive reviews when he was in Washington, D.C.
"We've been told we're doing it right," he said at the State of the County presentation March 11.
The federal government manages 64.5 percent of Douglas County. The Bureau of Land Management controls 34 percent of that land, and 17.6 percent is under the control of the U.S. Forest Service. There are also 59,275 acres controlled by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
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The bill identifies five parcels of federal land that could be sold to purchase conservation easements, including the remaining land in the north county, and parcels near Bodie Flats and Topaz Lake.
Land along the west and east sides of Carson Valley is suggested to aid in recreation and flood-control efforts.
Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., introduced four lands bills last week for economic development in Fernley, Fallon, Storey County and Carlin.
"As Nevadans are well aware, moving lands bills through Congress is a process and my office is committed to seeing that process through to the end," Amodei said. "Many of the issues addressed by these bills have been years in the making. These communities deserve solutions to enable them to chart their own growth."
The Restoring Storey Act would transfer the surface rights to about 1,745 acres of BLM land in Virginia City to Storey County to resolve conflicting ownership and title claims that have plagued the Comstock since the 19th century.
A Lyon County lands bill that would allow Yerington to work with Nevada Copper to develop 12,500 acres of land surrounding the Pumpkin Hollow mine site was introduced in January. That bill would create a 48,000-acre Wovoka Wilderness Area.