Carson City moves forward with open space projects

The Open Space Advisory Committee approved the open space work plan for the upcoming fiscal year.

Some of the plan’s projects are funded by grants and will not be affected by an expected drop in sales tax revenue, which is what funds the Quality of Life Fund dedicated to Carson City’s open space.

Those projects include repairing the initial 2.5 miles of dirt road from the Kings Canyon/Waterfall Trailhead starting this summer; construction of three trails in the Silver Saddle Ranch Prison Hill Recreation Area, also beginning this summer; and rehabilitation of the motorized vehicle area of Prison Hill, including new trails, signage and fencing. A draft master plan for Prison Hill is expected in June.

The committee, which met Monday for the first time since the government shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, also heard a report from the city’s two park rangers.

The rangers reported a jump in illegal dumpsites found in 2019, from 11 in 2017 and six in 2018 to 55 last year.

John Costello, park ranger, attributed the increase to additional staff leading to more discoveries of sites. Parks, Recreation and Open Space added a ranger last year.

Costello said a full third, or 36 percent, of 78 enforcement calls are for camping, both transients and families recreating, which is not allowed anywhere on city open space. Roughly another third, or 31 percent, were compliance calls for people not complying with various open space regulations such as using a facility after hours.

Calls on shooting firearms in open space represented 14 percent. Seven calls were for parking and six were about off-highway vehicles.
Gregg Berggren, trails coordinator, said people were flocking to the trails in unprecedented numbers due to the shutdown.

“Each weekend looked like a holiday weekend,” said Berggren.

And Jennifer Budge, director, announced that Ann Bollinger, open space administrator, resigned and has been replaced by Lindsey Boyer, previously senior natural resource specialist. The job has been redefined and redesignated open space manager.

Boyer’s old job will remain vacant for now under city orders to freeze all hiring.

Budge said there is a two-month delay in reporting sales tax so the department won’t know until July or August the full impact of a decline in sales tax collections.


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