Silver Saddle Ranch plan to be released for public review

The vision statement for the Silver Saddle Ranch reads: "Keep the (ranch) green, the river clean, the paths open and the past alive for present and future generations."

On that note, the Bureau of Land Management is releasing for public review the final plans for the management of Silver Saddle Ranch.

The BLM has spent more than two years ironing out the details of how to create recreation opportunities at the historic 703-acre ranch, yet protect its natural habitat for animals.

The proposed plan will turn the ranch into a large urban park and calls for the development of parking lots, picnic areas and trails into the Pine Nut Mountains, the Prison Hill Recreation Area and other nearby public lands. The trail system will mesh with the city's current and planned hiking/biking trails. Parts of the ranch will continue to be irrigated, and cattle and sheep will still graze the pastures. The historical homes on the property will be preserved. Small educational groups will be allowed to camp at the ranch.

The plan also includes the preservation of and the extension of trails into the Ambrose Natural Area north of the Silver Saddle along the river.

The Silver Saddle is along the Carson River between Prison Hill and the Pine Nut Mountains north of the Carson-Douglas county line. It is one of the largest pieces of open space in Carson City and one of the last undeveloped parcels along the Carson River.

The ranch was acquired by the BLM in 1997 in a land exchange with Perma-Bilt Homes and the American land Conservancy.

Mike McQueen, BLM planning and environmental coordinator, said the bureau and the city hope to start a foundation that would raise funds to help operate the ranch.

McQueen said the BLM had worked closely with the city's parks and recreation staff to create the plan, which will save the land from development and keep the ranch open for fishermen, walkers, bikers, horses, bird watchers and off-highway vehicles.

If all goes well through the final public comment period, the BLM will host a grand opening of the ranch on Sept. 23 in conjunction with National Public Lands Day.

The grand opening will function as a work party to help with conservation work on trails, fences and other improvements.

The Carson City Kiwanis Club will also be barbecuing for volunteer workers. For information on volunteering at the event, call Arthur Callan or Chris Miller at 885-6000.

The final decision on the ranch's future can be appealed by the public within 30 days. The formal appeal period ends Sept. 5.

"If the public had a huge problem, we should have seen it in the draft phase," McQueen said.

Plans can be picked up at the Bureau of Land Management's Carson City office. Suggestions or appeals should be sent to John Singlaub, Carson City field office manager at 5665 Morgan Mill Road, Carson City, Nev. 89701.

For information on the Silver Saddle Ranch and Ambrose Carson river Natural Area Interdisciplinary Management Plan, call 885-6000. Pick up a copy of the plan at the Bureau of Land Management Carson City office, 5665 Morgan Mill Road.


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