Open-space board reconsiders sale of Kings Canyon land |

Open-space board reconsiders sale of Kings Canyon land

With assurances they can have a say in managing and protecting federal lands surrounding the capital city, the Carson City Open Space Advisory Committee changed its mind Monday and agreed to recommend selling 40 acres of land off Kings Canyon Road to the U.S. Forest Service.

The committee voted against the sale Oct. 3 after complaining the Forest Service has done a poor job managing interface lands. They also complained about the lack of cooperation between the city and the forest agency in the past.

District Ranger Gary Schiff agreed with committee members Monday that the Forest Service has not done a good job in handling interface lands. He said budget and the federal bureaucracy both have a hand in limiting his agency’s abilities to respond, especially in times of emergency.

But he said he is more than willing to work out cooperative agreements with local officials to better handle law enforcement and other issues on Forest Service properties surrounding the city. He said that includes giving residents more say in managing those properties.

Chairman Steve Hartman and members of the committee complained it has been more than a year since the Waterfall fire, and much of the burned timber is still on the hillside and there seems to be no money for brush-clearing projects to limit damage from future fires.

“The biggest problem is the ability to react with some speed,” he said.

Member Bruce Scott said the city should still have a say in managing the property, even if the city sells the 40 acres known as the Gilbert property.

Schiff agreed saying the agency has worked out cooperative agreements with Washoe and Douglas counties as well as Alpine and Sierra counties in California. He said those partnerships stretch the Forest Service’s limited resources so more can get done and allow local officials to get things done more quickly.

He suggested one area where city open space funding might be put to good use is building trailheads and other facilities to help open up the Kings Canyon and Clear Creek areas to area residents.

Scott and Hartman asked for help putting together a project to reduce brush along the west side by grazing sheep in the area. Schiff said that project should be set up for the spring of 2007 after this year’s plantings of native species have time to re-establish themselves.

Supervisor Robin Williamson said the idea of cooperative agreements “just makes sense because the public doesn’t care who owns the land.”

She said she would work with Schiff to see what types of agreements can be put together.

Scott also asked that the subject be put on the agenda for an upcoming workshop on open space in Carson City.

The recommendation to sell the Gilbert property for $1.12 million will be acted on by supervisors Thursday. The property is at the southeast corner of Borda Meadow up Kings Canyon and is basically surrounded by federal lands. The city purchased it in 2003 for $740,000 to protect the property from development.

The Forest Service is buying the property using Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act money. That will free up the money the city invested in the land for use in purchasing other lands to protect them from development.

n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.