Ranch would be a worthy addition
When it comes to big purchases, Horse Creek Ranch would be a prize for generations of Carson City residents.
Carson City supervisors today should move forward with an offer for 380 acres for $2.9 million because the deal represents the best aspects of the city’s open-space plan.
The most important element is a willing seller, Michael Fagan, who owns the entire 610-acre ranch located between Kings Canyon Road and Clear Creek.
The acreage being considered for purchase is mostly mountainous – the kind of area best suited for trail hiking and biking. A 200-acre meadow is the subject of negotiations for a conservation easement, which would limit the uses. Fagan has talked about building a retreat center there.
One way to look at the proposed purchase is that it would cost every resident of Carson City about $54. Not additional money, mind you. Residents already voted to tax themselves in 1996 with a quarter-cent sales tax that goes, in part, toward acquisition of open space.
One of the arguments against open space is the amount of state and federal land around Carson City. Do we need more?
The answer has to do with quality, not quantity. Access to the Sierra Nevada is a key issue for Carson City residents. While there are plenty of mountains to roam, there is a limited number of ways to get there. Horse Creek Ranch is in a strategic location.
And open space is simply a good idea, as voters confirmed in 1996. Carson City must be considered “landlocked” in many respects, with limited areas to grow. That’s why the city’s open-space advisory committee has identified appropriate spaces to protect.
Supervisors can make a big contribution to that effort with an affirmative decision today.