Aquatic trail plan could spawn more river recreation, tourism dollars |

Aquatic trail plan could spawn more river recreation, tourism dollars

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Vern Krahn talks Wednesday about Carson City's plan for the Aquatic Trail. The city is working to improve access to the river that is safe and environmentally friendly.

Vern Krahn, parks planner for Carson City, is a registered landscape architect and has been the staff liaison for the Carson River committee for 10 years. He’s also knowledgeable about trails. He helped put together the Carson River Aquatic Trail Master Plan. The state Commission on Tourism shared the cost of the $25,000 study with the city.

How can a waterway do so much for local and state tourism?

Lake Tahoe is Alpine style, the Truckee River more urban, and the Lahontan River recreation based. We’ll provide a natural whitewater experience and other year-round activities. The city is talking to V&T officials because both projects could enhance a tourist’s Carson River Canyon experience. Someone could ride the V&T from Virginia City to Carson City early in the morning, take a whitewater ride, get back on the train and return to Virginia City all in the same day.

It seems like a short rafting season for heavy flow and maximum capacity.

It’s optimal from April to June, perhaps July depending on the weather. People could raft a little earlier too. The normal hydrograph allows two to three months in a good year for whitewater activities. We think that’s fine.

What will the cost be to create and maintain this type of recreation facility?

Improvements to the Morgan Mill Road section are expected to cost $900,000. The river is already being maintained by parks and recreation, and basic amenities improvements would not add any significant costs.

Why was it important that the Board of Supervisors approve the plan and add it to the city’s master plan for pathways?

The voters gave clear direction to city staff this was a high priority project. Board approval also allows pursuit of funding. Always important when asking for a grant is whether the governing body has approved it or if it’s in your community’s master plan.

Will all the refuse be pulled out of the river and how will cleanliness be maintained?

Both Carson City and Lyon County are working with state lands and the Carson Water Subconservancy District to get debris removed, but for now we’re relying on community help. The Kiwanis Club, for instance, has a river cleanup day. More activity there means less opportunity for people to dump trash unnoticed. And improvement of our park facilities will help improve water quality and wildlife habitat.

How will it be policed and safety ensured?

Security will be provided by the Park Ranger program and, as with any park facility, the Sheriff’s Department. The more people you have using a facility means less opportunity for people to do things they shouldn’t. Warning signs are going up because whitewater could be dangerous.

Have you rafted the river?

I whitewater rafted the canyon area and took my teenage son. We had a good time. It offered me the opportunity to see how youth could experience, enjoy and learn about the river. My son wants to go again. I’m planning to take my 8-year-old and 12 year-old daughters this spring.

Universal river signals

Help/Emergency: Wave paddle in a circular motion or give three long blasts on a whistle.

Go this way: Use paddle to point toward direction of travel.

Are you OK?: Tap the top of your head three times and point to the person you are questioning. If they tap their head three times in return, they’re OK. Otherwise, assistance is needed.

Stop: Hold paddle overhead horizontally (sideways).

All clear: Hold paddle vertical and stationary.

– American Canoe Association

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.