City committee approves of plan to preserve Horse Creek Ranch

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A plan to preserve a meadow and surrounding mountainsides at Horse Creek Ranch was easily approved by the Carson City Open Space Advisory Committee Monday.

The recommendation will be forwarded for final approval to the city's Board of Supervisors. If passed, the city will enter into an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy to pursue purchasing a conservation easement for 100 acres of the property.

The Forest Service plans to purchase the other 500 acres of mountainous land along Kings Canyon Road that cuts through the ranch property for fire management access, said Laura Crane, Desert Rivers program manager for The Nature Conservancy.

Carson City is interested in purchasing a conservation easement for the 100-acre meadow along Kings Canyon Road. Buying a conservation easement from a property owner places deed restrictions on the property that would only allow the land to be used for certain purposes.

Through the transaction with the land owners W. Fagan and E. McCleary, the city would ask that the meadowland not be developed and kept as a scenic resource.

"It's such a beautiful scenic resource," Crane said. "People use (Kings Canyon Road) for its scenic value."

The Nature Conservancy is partnering with the city and the Forest Service and is interested in assisting with the transaction because of the importance of the land's role in watershed and wildlife habitat.

"We know that those meadowlands are important habitat for creatures that come from the mountains and head down to the river," Crane said.

Carson Open Space Advisory Committee members voted 5-0 to recommend approval to supervisors of the agreement to pursue the acquisition.

The land owners were looking for a commitment from the agencies before commencing negotiations, but they seem interested, said Juan Guzman, open space manager for the city.

"They're willing sellers and they want to work," Guzman told committee members.

It is uncertain how much the city would need to pay for the easement or the Forest Service for the land. An appraisal will likely be done after an the agreement is finalized and terms are decided, Crane said.


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