Another vehicle stranded in Prison Hill Recreation Area
Removal of a late-model Ford Bronco mired in the sand on Carson City’s “S” Hill continues to confound officials at the Bureau of Land Management, and now their problem has doubled.
A second vehicle, a Jeep CJ, is trapped in a depression just east of the hill in the Bureau’s Prison Hill Recreational Area in southeast Carson City.
The Jeep was discovered Saturday. Hidden behind S Hill, the bowl is made up of decomposed granite, making it easy to enter and difficult to leave.
The Bronco was marooned on the west face of S Hill in late September. Normally open to hikers, the area is restricted within 100 yards of the vehicle to minimize liability and avoid damage. Despite those safeguards, the vehicle has been vandalized. Tires have been flattened, windows broken and the dashboard damaged, but that’s just the beginning of the owner’s problems.
Jarod Ellis, 18, of Carson City, was cited for operation of an off-road vehicle in a closed area and operation of an off-road vehicle causing environmental damage, a class A misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and/or a $100,000 fine.
Because the case involves federal land, it will be heard in Magistrate Court at the U.S. District Court in Reno.
Stan Zuber, BLM district law enforcement officer, expects the vehicles to be removed in the next couple of weeks.
“The court date is set for Oct. 17 and we want to remove the vehicles by that time, so we’ll have something to present to the judge,” he said. “But there’s no set time line.”
Elayn Briggs, the bureau’s acting field manager, said officials are still looking for a way to get the vehicles out with the least impact to the environment.
“If we can direct any focus, it would be to tell people to stay out,” she said. “We’ve initiated an emergency closure, because the Bronco is up there, but people are going up there to see what’s going on. That’s creating more of an environmental nightmare.”
Removing the vehicles is proving difficult and bureau officials are considering a number of options.
“The Nevada National Guard’s 150th Maintenance Unit will evaluate the cars this weekend, to determine if they can be removed with their six-wheel, five-ton wrecker,” Briggs said.
Calling the Nevada National Guard’s Adjutant General for airlift assistance is another option, but using the bureau’s bulldozer to remove the vehicles has been vetoed.
“We figured we’d have to build a road to use the bulldozer,” Zuber said.
Bureau officials could not identify the owner of the second vehicle.