Prison Hill land swap still in the works |

Prison Hill land swap still in the works

Sam Bauman
Special to the Nevada Appeal

After hearing from some readers about possible changes at Prison Hill, I figured it was time to take a look there as I hadn’t yet this season. First, checked with Roger Mullendorf, manager of Carson Parks and Recreation Division.

“Nothing has been finalized yet,” he said Tuesday. “We’re still doing the paperwork.”

So, no kiosks, no new signs, no changes yet.

“Maybe in the future we’ll do signs so the public will know what’s there and what they can do safely,” Mullendorf said.

Meanwhile, the Carson River is roaring along nicely with Class III rapids and open to the public.

Mullendorf said no commercial boat service is in place on the river as yet but “we’ll probably see a couple this year.”

“We haven’t done much with construction but we’ll be putting out a request for bids for the Morgan Mill Park boat landing.”

When the land swap between the city and Bureau of Land Management takes place, as authorized by Congress, 40 acres of land has been set aside for BLM use near the water tank on the hill. So the BLM has an enclave in the city land and, as most know now, wants to put up facilities there for the “hot shot” fire fighting crews. That, too, is in the air.

Incidentally, there’s a fine map of the Carson River Recreation Area on the Internet. Just got to and print it out.


Tuesday I drove to Koontz Lane and parked at the rec area beside the fence. I checked the area around the fence and it was pretty clean ” no dog pooh and no cigarette butts.

Through the gate at one end of the fence the trail heads up the hill, splitting left quickly. Never took the left hand trail before so thought I’d try it instead of going straight up the hill. Obviously, not as popular at the main trail, it had some steep spots as it turned northeast.

About 200 yards along the path it looked like Las Vegas ahead as a large area was littered with broken glass, like someone had an orgy of bottle smashing.I was to find broken glass almost all along the trail along with such things as an auto brake shoe; how that got there is a puzzle.

The trail seemed to branch off in several directions at one higher point. As the thunderclouds were moving in, I figured it might be best to get off the hill. On the way back I noticed a lot of tall yellow flowers and small pinkish-blue ones, plus Mormon tea and bitterbrush. Not enough water in the area for a lot of wildflowers, which are still blooming along Dead Man’s Creek trail.

Going downhill I came to a cross trail that I figured led to the main trail, so I took it and yes, it did. Which illustrates that Prison Hill is laced with trails like a spider web.

Up the main trail perhaps a quarter mile is a road heading south; I’ve never tried that one but will next time I hike the west side of the hill. I’ll probably do the east side of Prison Hill this week sometime. That side is a bit more pleasant with the initial uphill leg greener. The east side trail starts where the dirt road from River Road makes a sharp left turn down to the Silver Saddle Ranch area and the current BLM facility (you’re welcome to use the grills there when you feel like cooking someplace other than the patio).

The east side also includes the Mexican Ditch, which can be a nice, easy hike up to the dam. You can loiter along the Carson River at places along this trail.

So except for the broken glass, which I seemed to find everywhere ” maybe because I was looking more closely than usual to the ground ” the trails seemed in good shape. Some odd things: a tissue wadded up and stuck in some sage bush, a plastic bag of dog pooh placed alongside the trail, a couple of plastic cups, a few tin cans carefully crumpled. But generally, for an area so close to town, a well-used but not abused site.


You can join the group for Muscle Walks on Tuesdays at various spots. June 9 the group meets at 5:30 p.m. at Carson River Park. Meet Donna Inversin at Lloyd’s Bridge on Carson River Road. June 16 it’s Ash Canyon near the water tanks. Call 315-6763.


Mammoth Mountain just won’t close the ski lifts. Latest word is closing on June 15 and then they’ll start work on the snow trail for skiers and riders from the top to the village below.

– Contact Sam Bauman at 841-7818 or