Less camping, more history planned for Dayton State Park | NevadaAppeal.com

Less camping, more history planned for Dayton State Park

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

Dayton State Park is about to get an historic makeover.

State parks officials, saying the needs of the area have changed over the years, have designed a new plan to better serve the increasingly urbanized community.

That begins with history, said Jenny Scanland, Parks and Recreation program manager, and the main entrance to the park will be redesigned to reflect the park’s new historical theme.

“We’re going to focus on the reason why the park was made a park in the first place – to protect the mill site,” she said. “We’re going to focus more on interpreting and giving them trails they can utilize in the historic mill site.”

As plans are developed for Old Town Dayton, the Historic Rock Point Mill Site will be managed and developed to be in sync with that area, she said.

Some reconstruction will be considered, with kiosks or shelters constructed that would display small models or images of the original site as it appeared during the Comstock era.

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Trails are planned for the area, with outside trails leading to Como, Silver City, Gold Hill and Virginia City to the north and west, as well as Fort Churchill and Buckland Station to the east.

The state hopes to provide connecting trails to those spots for hikers, mountain bike and off-road enthusiasts and equestrians.

Improved recreation facilities for groups and families are also a high priority.

“We want to increase the use of the park by adding more facilities for large groups,” Scanland said. “We’re talking about another large pavilion and things for people to have family reunions.”

Dayton residents said they didn’t want to continue the campground, as many wrote in that it only attracted vagrants, but the Boy Scouts and other groups did use the group camping area.

So the individual campsites and the dump station will be removed, while reservation-only group camping will stay. The group picnic area with the covered pavilion will also stay.

The play area at the current pavilion will be expanded and could eventually include playground equipment.

An additional covered pavilion and restrooms will be added to allow for more than one group and larger groups.

A small, outdoor amphitheater that could hold about 75 people can be added to the lower park for special events, with a 500-seat amphitheater possible in the upper park.

“The smaller one would be used for ranger talks, Chatauqua, educational things,” she said. “Schools would be able to use it. The larger one would be for larger groups and would have to be a public/private partnership to get it done.”

Improved parking areas are planned, as well as staging areas for trail use.

The master plan effort began more than a year ago, with major focus on historical resources, recreational development, natural resources and the river corridor.

Officials from the Nevada Division of State Parks will present the new master plan for the Dayton State Park at a meeting at 6:30 p.m. July 10 at the Lyon County Utilities Building, 34 Lakes Blvd., Dayton. State Parks officials will offer a presentation followed by a public comment period and open house.

Scanland said there’s no plan yet to actually fund these improvements.

“The master plan doesn’t tell you what the costs are or where it’s coming from,” she said. “The master plan is a vision of where the people want the park to go.”

If you go

WHAT: Dayton State Park meeting

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. July 10

WHERE: 34 Lakes Blvd., Dayton

CALL: (775) 684-2787

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.