Douglas County, Nevada, Conservation Bill Open Houses


Douglas County, Nevada is holding a series of five public open house meetings regarding a proposed congressional conservation bill. The bill will affect many parcels of land in the county that are currently managed by various federal agencies. One of the areas in the bill is the Burbank Canyons Wilderness Study Area on the eastern side of the Pine Nut Mountains.

Yesterday, Chris Dickerson of Sierra 4x4, and I, met with Dominique Etchegoyhen of Legacy Land and Water. His firm has been hired by the county to manage the public process on this bill. We spent several hours looking at maps and satellite photos and talking about off-highway access, fishing, hunting, backpacking, mountain biking, mining, economic development, and why we like living in a rural community. Tomorrow Chris and I will drive up to the Burbank Canyon WSA, get some GPS data, and take some pictures.

I plan to be at the Monday evening open house. Give a shout if you plan to go.

The open house meetings will be held:

Date: Monday, December 5, 2011, 5:30-7:30 PM
Location: Emergency Operations Center
1694 County Road, Minden

North Douglas County
Date: Tuesday, December 6, 2011, 5:30-7:30 PM
Location: North Sunridge Fire Station
3620 N. Sunridge Drive, Carson City

South Douglas County – Topaz Area
Date: Wednesday, December 7, 2011, 5:30-7:30 PM
Location: Topaz Ranch Estates Community Center
4001 Carter Way, Wellington

Lake Tahoe
Date: Monday, December 12, 2011, 5:30-7:30 PM
Location: Tahoe Transportation Center
169 Hwy 50, Stateline

Date: Wednesday, December 14, 2011, 5:30-7:30 PM
Location: Genoa Town Hall
2287 Main Street, Genoa

For more information, contact:
Legacy Land and Water at (775) 782-9494 or dominique (at) legacylandandwater (dot) com


Our scouting trip yesterday to the Burbank Canyons Wilderness Study Area was a great success. A fantastic day in the backcountry with some good friends.

One of our goals was to investigate and map some potential "cherry-stem" roads. Two in particular were very difficult to understand without actually seeing them. From our existing maps and satellite photos we could not determine if the roads actually existed, if they were being used, or what they led to. So we headed out for some field work to see what's what. Once there, it was easy to see that the roads are being used, mostly by hunters. One led to a very nice campsite near a spring with plenty of running water. All of the roads we investigated ended at a natural terrain barrier such as a very steep cliff. The people using the roads are not attempting to push them farther. They are using them to get to a destination, spending time there, and cleaning up after themselves. We saw very little debris and almost no incursions into the surrounding vegetation.

We also saw that attempting to close these existing roads would be difficult. Much of the area is above treeline and the only plants around are thin grasses and patches of scrubby brush. It would be almost impossible to create a physical barrier to prevent people from driving down a closed road. So a closure, if enacted, might exist on paper but probably not in the real world.

I emailed some preliminary data to the consultant on this project right after we got back last night. He was very appreciative of our time and our work and agreed that the roads we investigated should remain open. I'm pretty proud of the job we accomplished yesterday and feel good about how this process is working. There is still some more fieldwork to be done and we hope to get back to the area in the next couple of weeks, beating the snowfall.


Great work on being part of the process! It is always good when responsible, knowledgable recreationalist weigh in during the decision making process. I've been the ranger, consultant, and recreationalist on various projects over the years. Good land management can be achieved when guys like you are helping demonstrate the needs of recreational users and how they may impact the land.

Keep up the good work.


Thanks for the kind words, Jeff. The community open houses have been very successful. Good turnout at all of them. And folks from all of the various interest groups seem to be involved in the process and are getting their concerns addressed. I've seen a couple of people arrive at one of the meetings with very strong opinions based mostly on emotion. After getting some information, and saying what was on their mind, they seem much more open to compromise and collaboration.