BLM director wants some of Las Vegas sale money to protect Carson-area open space

When the Bureau of Land Management sells off large tracts of Las Vegas Valley land this summer, Carson District officials say they're hoping to get some of the money to protect open space around the capital.

John Singlaub, head of BLM's Carson District, has presented a list of three major properties he'd like to buy with some of the money, including the Anderson Ranch between Prison Hill and the Carson River.

He was in Las Vegas this past week arguing his case.

Under the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, Interior officials will auction off several thousand acres of property for development in the Las Vegas Valley. Singlaub said since the land will be sold at fair market value, the federal government expects to realize upward of $35 million at the June auction.

That money can be used for a variety of things, including construction of park and campground areas, boat ramps and trails and education. But the provision Singlaub is focused on is using the money to acquire "environmentally sensitive land" elsewhere in Nevada.

He is proposing three purchases in Western Nevada. The U.S. Forest Service is proposing one purchase in this area.

"All of the federal agencies have been asked to submit lists of acquisition priorities that will go through a sequence of review," he said. "But the secretary of the interior is going to finally approve what is acquired."

Singlaub said the Silver Saddle Ranch across River Road from the Anderson Ranch is already city property. In addition, Carson River Park, Riverview Park and the river itself border the property.

The Lahontan Audubon Society has also urged purchase and protection of Anderson Ranch, which contains extensive wetlands in the flood plain area of the river.

"We're trying to protect it from development," said Singlaub, adding that the excess water rights that come with the 450-acre Anderson Ranch would help keep Silver Saddle green as well.

Carson supervisors are expected to add their support this Thursday by approving a resolution to the Interior Department.

In addition, he said he wants the bureau to buy the Rolling A along the Carson River in Lyon County. That ranch, of 5,000 acres, includes scattered parcels in the Pine Nut Range. He said that purchase would provide the state with superfund property in the flood plain along the river, give state parks needed property along the river and provide needed space to Lyon County for a potential wastewater treatment facility.

Third on Singlaub's list is the Casey Ranch at the north end of Washoe Lake. The ranch totals 2,000 acres, but Singlaub said 450 acres is available now.

The other property proposed for purchase in this area is the Schneider Ranch in Douglas County which Singlaub said he as well as the Washoe Tribe support. That property is just south of the Carson City border.

Singlaub said no appraisals have been done on the different properties yet so he doesn't know what they would cost. The final date for submitting his proposals is Feb. 25.


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