Wild horse visitor center gets OK from Lyon County

MOUND HOUSE -- A proposal to locate a national wild horse visitor and adoption center near the junction of Highway 50 and State Route 341 to Virginia City has received unanimous support from Lyon County officials.

Presenting the plan to the Lyon commissioners, Meg Getty, of the Bureau of Land Management's Carson City office, said the Mound House site offers an ideal spot and should be a huge boost to area tourism.

"As we all know, Northern Nevada has a tourism dependent economy and we need to diversify that economy. This type of facility plays right into the hands of our new eco-tourism, outdoor adventure push for Nevada," she told the board.

"The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority is real happy to hear about this and said it plays right into what they are trying to do. They will help with the marketing. This will be a stand-alone tourist facility when all is said and done."

Located south of Highway 50, off Dorff Lane, the $10 million project will include a large visitor center building and an events area.

"It will hold up to 200 horses, hopefully run through the prison gentling program, that would then be available for adoption. It would be our feeder system to get our horses out into adoption homes.

"If the gathered horses are BLM horses, they must be cared for in perpetuity and the only way to get them off the public dole is to get them into private homes. The best private homeowner is an educated one. This would be an educational center to facilitate more and successful adoptions," Getty said.

Following a preliminary analysis of 10 possible sites in Northern Nevada, the Center Cooperators agreed upon the Mound House location as the preferred site.

Located on BLM administered lands, it sits on the border of Nevada and federal wild horse management areas, offering an ideal location to promote both programs. The site also provides access to the BLM's Pine Nut herd management area, offering visitors the opportunity to view horses in the wild.

The Center Cooperators is a coalition of representatives from local, state and federal government agencies as well as members of the nonprofit and business communities.

The center's goal is to raise public awareness of wild horses throughout the country and increase the number of horses adopted to qualified homes.

In 2000, BLM State Director Robert Abbey identified the development of a national showcase for the wild horse program as one of several legacy projects for Nevada. The concept has also been supported at the state level and received endorsement from the state Legislature in the late 1990s.


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