CARSON CITY — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Carson City District-Sierra Front Field Office, acting through the Secretary of the Interior and in consultation with Carson City and affected local interests, announces the signing a perpetual conservation easement to protect, preserve and enhance the conservation values of the Silver Saddle Ranch, Prison Hill Recreation Area, and certain public lands along the Carson River. The conservation easement was signed on December 22, 2010.
Development of the conservation easement 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.
Congress directed transfer of Silver Saddle Ranch and 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).
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.
Carson City will have one year from the signing of the conservation easement to prepare a management plan in consultation with the public for the properties to be transferred from BLM.
More information about Silver Saddle Ranch, Prison Hill Recreation, and other public lands along the Carson River included in the conservation easement is available on-line at: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/carson_city_field.html