Is Silver Saddle Ranch Going to Transfer from the BLM to Carson City?
Congress directed transfer of Silver Saddle Ranch and federal public lands along the Carson River, including the existing Prison Hill Recreation Area (approximately 3,604 acres), subject to the reservation of a conservation easement, to Carson City under the authority of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-11, Section 2601).
BLM, acting through the Secretary of the Interior and in consultation with Carson City and affected local interests, has reserved a perpetual conservation easement to protect, preserve and enhance the conservation values of the property, and to see that Carson City protects the Carson River, floodplain and surrounding uplands and wildlife habitat. The conservation easement was signed on December 22, 2010.
Development of the conservation eastment was guided by the results of a planning and design charette completed in December 2008, entitled Creating a Community Vision: Silver Saddle Ranch and the Carson River.
Though the actual transfer of these lands is not anticipated until sometime in 2011, when the transfer does occur Carson City may use the property for undeveloped open space, passive recreation, customary agricultural practices and wildlife protection. Carson City may construct and maintain trails and trailhead facilities, conduct fuels reduction projects, maintain or reconstruct any improvements on the property that were in existence on March 31, 2009, and allow the use of motorized vehicles on designated roads, trails and areas in the south end of Prison Hill.
BLM and Carson City have mutually agreed that the conservation values also include protection of natural resources, preservation of the property for solitude and nature observation, maintaining the green irrigated pastures and hay fields of Silver Saddle Ranch, protecting scenic resources including the preservation of dark skies, protecting cultural resources including the historic structures at Silver Saddle Ranch, promoting environmental education and interpretation, allowing public access, promoting the quality of life, and safety and tourism.
More information on the actual transfer of these lands to Carson City will be posted here as it becomes available.