Carson City continues to negotiate terms for a conservation easement with a landowner to preserve 200 acres of irrigated meadow land on the west side.
The city would like access into Horse Creek Meadow, a site valued because of its watershed protection, not just its picturesque scenery. The owner, Michael Fagen, would like access sharply curtailed so the agricultural operations aren't disturbed in the area.
The Board of Supervisors will decide Thursday what steps to take next.
"We want to see if we're on the right track with this next phase," said Juan Guzman, the city's open space manager.
A separate 380-acre portion of the Fagen property was purchased by the city in late 2004 for $2.85 million. The mountainous site was bisected by Kings Canyon Road and east of the road as it changes direction to the south.
The meadow is north of Highway 50 and south of Kings Canyon road.
Supervisor Shelly Aldean was against the purchase of the larger site without the meadow when the supervisors were asked to decide on it in 2004. She was worried the city never would never be able to obtain the easement, she said.
"I thought the two sites were inexorably linked," she said. The purchase of the first "was premature."
The first site has been designated for passive forms of recreation, such as hiking, birding and other wildlife viewing. This means the land isn't meant for more active uses, such as athletics and hunting.
Cows graze on the land, but they are only part of the population. Deer and other animals frequent the area, as do songbirds.
Water flows to irrigated meadows like Horse Creek from the hillsides. The locations provide natural percolation for groundwater eventually used by residents, Guzman said.
Water rights will retained by Fagen for irrigation of the meadow.
A conservation easement restricts a landowner to uses that are compatible with long-term conservation and environmental values. The owner receives tax and estate planning advantages.
Members of the city's Open Space Committee have been trying to create an easement agreement to protect the meadow from future development, so its habitat and pastures - including the watershed advantages - are preserved, said Dan Jacquet, the committee's vice chairman.
Fagen plans to use part of the land he has left for a nonprofit retreat business with cabins. Groups would be able to rent a cabin for events or overnight use.
He also would like to provide pieces of land to his two children, Guzman said.
• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.
If you go
What: Board of Supervisors meeting
When: 8:30 a.m. Thursday
Where: Sierra Room, Community Center, 851 E. William St.