More than 12,000 donated acres of land in Lyon and Mineral counties will soon be a new state park along the Walker River.
The Nevada Division of State Lands accepted the gift deeds facilitated by the Walker Basin Conservancy and will assign the donated property to the Nevada Division of State Parks for the development and management of the new park.
The new park, called the Walker River State Recreation Area, is made possible by a donation from the Walker Basin Restoration Program, which acquired the historic ranches along the Walker River with support from the Desert Terminal Lakes Act.
The Walker Basin Conservancy’s mission is to help restore and maintain Walker Lake while protecting the agricultural and watershed interests along the Walker River.
The new park stretches along 29 miles of the scenic East Walker River and includes the Pitchfork, Rafter 7, Flying M and Nine Mile Ranch properties.
The majority of former ranchland and river frontage included in the transfer hasn’t been accessible to the public for more than 125 years.
Thanks to the new park, visitors will soon have access to a river corridor with options of camping, kayaking, OHV-designated terrain, equestrian trails and fishing.
The Nevada Division of State Parks also plans to establish a fishery at the Pitchfork Ranch property in cooperation with the Nevada Division of Wildlife.
“We are excited to begin developing this new state park for the enjoyment of all Nevadans,” said Eric Johnson, administrator of the Nevada Division of State Parks. “This is a rare opportunity to open these historic ranch properties to the public and to give Nevadans access to a unique part of the state.”
The Nevada Division of State Parks will work with the Walker Basin Conservancy and the Nevada Department of Wildlife on stewardship activities that address dust abatement, soil stabilization, and noxious weed control on the former agriculture fields.
They will also work to protect priority habitat for the Bi-State Sage-Grouse.
“Establishing a new state park for Nevada ensures these historic ranches continue to be managed and protected for the health of the Walker River and Walker Basin. I’m looking forward to the transition and working alongside the Division of State Parks well into the future” said Jeff Bryant, executive director of the Walker Basin Conservancy.
The Walker River State Recreation Area will not open until the Nevada Division of State Parks has staffed the area, completed a safety assessment, and finalized preliminary development. Limited access is due to begin this fall.
For information, go to parks.nv.gov.