Supporters hope to save Dangberg Ranch
Supporters of the Dangberg Home Ranch are hoping they can help prevent it from being closed for budget reasons.
The governor’s budget calls for Nevada State Parks to stop operating the ranch at the end of June, according to Minden resident Mike Hall, president of the Friends of the Dangberg Ranch.
“We’re hoping to save it long enough for it to reach its full potential,” Hall said.
The ranch is operated by the state, but is owned by Douglas County. Most of the collection, which consists of 22,000 items that once belonged to the Dangberg family, belong to the state.
Nevada State Parks Administrator David Morrow said it would cost the state $100,000 a year to keep the park open.
“None of us wanted to put the ranch on the list,” Morrow said. “My wife volunteers out there now. Everyone in the office spent time working out there. It’s not something we wanted to do but we were up against it.”
Hall said that Friends of Dangberg Ranch started in 2002 around the same time the park came into county hands, but has been inactive until now.
The group was getting started again to help support the ranch, when members learned it might close.
“We are volunteers who realized that the park was in some financial stress and decided to make it an active group again,” he said. “We were in the process of doing that when we got the news the proposed budget excluded any funding for the Dangberg Ranch.”
Douglas County contributes to the utilities and grounds maintenance, but the state is paying for one full-time employee and the rest of the costs associated with maintaining the collection.
“We want to see if we can make some impact and come to some compromise to keep the park open,” he said.
The day after Hall sent out an e-mail seeking help from the ranch’s supporters, he received 30 responses.
“We even got a response from a gentleman in Arkansas who wants to participate,” he said. “We’ve been in contact with Sen. James Settelmeyer and Assemblyman Kelly Kite, and both have expressed a willingness to come to some sort of compromise. We understand the pressure they are under.”
Hall said he is working on the IRS nonprofit paperwork needed to obtain the group’s tax exempt status.
“Right now that’s our goal,” he said. “Get the word out, meet with legislators, and come up with some way to keep the park open under some conditions.”
Hall is a recent arrival to Carson Valley, having moved to Minden a half dozen years ago.
“I went to the Dangberg Ranch for the first time two years ago,” he said. “I was impressed by the uniqueness of the collection. Practically everything in the collection is from that property. It’s actually the entire history of that family in Nevada, and by extension the agricultural families of the Valley.”‘
First settled in the 1857 by German immigrant H.F. Dangberg, the home ranch saw the rise to power of the Dangbergs who once owned a significant portion of Carson Valley. Dangberg’s son founded the town of Minden.
“At that site you have four generations of one of the pioneer families in the Valley,” he said. “The ranch goes all the way from the 1850s to the 1990s and shows people what it was like to be a pioneer family. Once we walk away from it, we’ll never be able to recover.”
Anyone who would like to help can contact Hall at dangbergfriends