Carson River could use the extra attention

The Carson River is one of the city's best assets, and one of its least used.

That's why it's good to hear the Nevada Commission on Tourism and the city's Parks and Recreation Commission turning their attention to the river in anticipation of the Virginia & Truckee Railway's return to its banks.

People do use the river for recreation. Some of Carson City's most convenient and secluded getaways are Riverview Park, Carson River Park and the Ambrose Natural Area, all of which offer walking trails and fishing.

There's also a trail along the river behind Empire Ranch Golf Course, and if the city should someday be able to link directly with Riverview Park and Carson River Park, it would create a wonderfully long stretch of cottonwood-covered riverfront for the public to enjoy.

Carson City's share of the river also extends into the canyon to the east, where the V&T will someday ride the rails again. And that's where the problems - and more opportunities - lie.

Some areas have become camps for the homeless. And while some of those folks are just down on their luck, there's also a dangerous element. People don't like to recreate where they might be shot at.

The Carson City Sheriff's Department swept through the area last summer, but it's going to be difficult to keep it squatter-free. There's a pretty fine line between long-term camping and seasonal residence.

In fact, we'd just as soon not see most of the river become an overdeveloped playground, with trailer hookups and camping fees and the inevitable bureaucracy that comes with it. The beauty of the river is in its natural state.

Keep it clean, keep it safe, identify public campsites and public places to put in or take out canoes and rafts. We should note that the Carson River Advisory Committee and groups like the Kiwanis have done yeomans' work over the years on bank stabilization and cleanup.

There's plenty more work that can be done to make the river accessible to more people. We're not sure it requires a $25,000 study (what's up with all the government studies?), but it's still a good idea.


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