The joint session of the Assembly Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees voted on Saturday to put $4.8 million into developing the new Walker River State Recreation Area.
The park consists of 12,000 acres of ranch land donated to the state by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation — the land formerly making up the Flying M, Pitchfork and Rafter 7 ranches that straddle the river in Lyon County.
“It’s going to be a treasure for people who want to explore that area,” said Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno. “It’s going to be another jewel in the park system.”
But the two committees agreed to several cutbacks from what Gov. Brian Sandoval originally proposed — including reducing the number of campsites from 30 to 20 initially. The extra $2 million to build 10 cabins in the new park, however, is still contained in a one-shot funding bill.
Kieckhefer asked the two committees to add some $90,000 to equip the new park with flush toilets and showers instead of vault toilets but Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, D-Las Vegas, said they just can’t quite afford everything they would like to do for Walker River, Tule Springs Park and other recreational facilities around the state.
He was joined by Assembly Ways and Means Chairman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, who said, “vaults versus flush we can deal with for a couple of years.”
That Walker River funding was part of a long list of state parks projects recommended by Sandoval. That list also includes $1.6 million for the new Tule Springs State Park, about $430,000 for the Van Sickle Bi-state Park, some $700,000 for a number of park maintenance projects around the state, $733,222 to re-open the Eastern Nevada Regional Office that was closed to save money during the recession and new park rangers at Lahontan, Spring Mountain and Valley of Fire state parks.