Byington Ranch portion preserved for open space |

Byington Ranch portion preserved for open space

Susie Vasquez
Nevada Appeal News Service
Belinda Grant/Nevada Appeal News Service A cow wanders past a tractor and barn on the Byington ranch.

For longtime Carson Valley ranchers Dal and Barbara Byington, a deal to preserve their land could create the best of both worlds.

The Byingtons will still own the 1,050-acre Galeppi-Byington ranch, but 700 acres surrounding the main ranch site, primarily pasture lands stretching from Genoa to Johnson lanes, will be held in perpetuity as open space.

“This is a good thing for the valley,” said Dal Byington. “I’d like to see this maintained as a ranch if possible. It’s not pristine, but it’s still a beautiful place.”

“We’re seeing so much of the valley chopped into 19-acre home sites,” Barbara Byington said.

The challenge to preserve agricultural lands throughout the West is ongoing and in part, ranchers are looking toward the country’s future food supply, she said.

“We don’t want to become dependent on other countries like Brazil for our food,” she said. “People don’t realize food comes from farms and ranches. They think it comes from the grocery store.”

The Byingtons chose to keep about 350 acres, which includes the barn, outbuildings and some pasturelands, out of the transaction. About 60 acres will be held for a possible homesite, Barbara Byington said.

Terra Firma Associates facilitated this transaction, which is touted as the largest in Douglas County using the transfer development rights program since its inception.

Once land is preserved as open space, the easement is monitored by an outside entity. In the past, that meant the Bureau of Land Management or Forest Service, but the Byingtons are using an independent land trust organization governed by Nevada ranchers, known as Ranch Open Space Nevada Inc.

Three or four more people have expressed interest in this type of transaction since the Byington’s was completed, primarily because an organization governed by ranchers was doing the monitoring, she said.

Nevada Open Space is one of 1,500 independent land trust organizations across the nation, dedicated to finding tools to help ranchers stay in ranching, an issue throughout the state, said Paul Pugsley, executive director.

To qualify for an easement, the water rights must remain with the property, Pugsley said.

He said development pressures vary throughout the state but irrespective of the location, ranchers need to find solutions for the issues that arise when ranches are passed from generation to generation.

Dal Byington said he hopes to pass the ranch on to his son, Russell.

“If Russell doesn’t want it, we can lease it out,” he said. “We’ve been renting the grass out for the past couple of years.”

n Contact reporter Susie Vasquez at or 782-5121, ext. 211.


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