Two cars that had been rolled more than 100 feet down a steep embankment in the Carson River Canyon were hauled out this month by the city's Parks and Recreation Department with help from several others.
"We brought in a contractor who was able to figure out how to get them up," said Vern Krahn, the city's park planner.
Krahn said the city first had to obtain permission to do the work from the Division of State Lands because the river and its banks are under the jurisdiction of the state.
Horizon Construction, Inc. was then hired to tow the vehicles out using a cable from the area of the Chinese rock wall.
"We tried once and failed," Krahn said, but the second time was a charm.
From there, the Carson City Sheriff's Office ran the Vehicle Identification Numbers and learned that one of the cars was listed as stolen. The other was no longer in Department of Motor Vehicle records.
Once the vehicles were cleared, they were turned over to Pick 'N Pull Wednesday.
The cost of the operation was about $3,000, Krahn said, but the city received a $5,000 Carson Water Subconser-vancy District grant - spearheaded by former supervisor Pete Livermore and facilitated by CWSD Director Ed James - to pay the bill.
Deputy Tom Crawford, a reserve commander with the Carson City Sheriff's Office and former Bureau of Land Management employee, said the city usually finds any cars that have been dumped off the unpaved road which parallels the river east of Deer Run Road.
"There are a lot of people watching that area now because of the prospective open space status in that canyon," Crawford said. "We get calls from hikers and bikers and other recreational users when there is something going on down there."
Crawford said law enforcement has an agreement with BLM to go into the area, and sheriff's officers patrol regularly for illegal camping and teen parties.
"We'll be in there more often as recreational activity increases and the railroad is built," he said, "and we'll start to see less of this dumping activity."
Crawford said the majority of the vehicles that have been removed from the river come back as stolen.
"They are mostly from kids joy-riding. It's accessible by sedans, so they'll set a car on fire and roll it down the canyon into the river. He cited another recent incident where a vehicle had been set afire on the railroad tracks, so the fire department had to go out and remove it.
"The whole area has been measurably cleaned up over the past few years, though," Crawford said.
In 2009, the Nevada National Guard and Kiwanis Club, in an effort to beautify the Carson River Canyon spent many hours cleaning up the corridor. The guard used a helicopter to airlift 20 junk cars that lurked for years below the surface and on the banks threatening safety and marring the river's natural beauty.
By using the event as a training exercise, the guard saved Carson City thousands of dollars it would have had to pay for the removal.
A convergence of efforts - including open space purchases, whitewater rafting and plans to extend the V&T Railroad - may soon turn the canyon into an extraordinary outdoor recreation/-
The city is in negotiations for 405 acres owned by John Serpa east of Deer Run Road and another 470 acres owned by Don Bently for land that connects to the Serpa property and runs almost to the Lyon County line. Plans are to designate the land as open space.
Plans also are in the works to extend the V&T Railroad farther into the Carson River Canyon. The train runs from the depot off of Flint Drive near Mound House to Virginia City, but the tracks also head south into the Carson River Canyon.
Proponents hope to eventually take the tracks farther into the canyon along the historic railroad bed to the old mining smelter which provides enough open flat terrain to build what is known as a balloon track turnaround.
This will allow a scenic experience for train passengers sometime in the future, but the old railbed is now used for offroad vehicle
And although responsible offroad users will lose access to prime vistas in the canyon if and when this occurs, the good news is that vehicles won't be dumped in the higher region because they won't have access to a road.