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Galena Creek Recreation Area and Visitor Center recognized for excellence


usfs-logo-282x300-4628295-6790602USFS NEWS RELEASE

CARSON CITY — The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and Washoe County Regional Parks have been honored with the prestigious Elmer H. Anderson Park Excellence award for their collective contributions for the Galena Creek Recreation Area improvements. Galena Creek Recreation Area (Recreation Area) and Visitor Center is located on the Mount Rose Highway in Nevada, just six miles from Reno on a popular route to and from Lake Tahoe.

The Recreation Area was constructed with hopes of acquainting locals and visitors with the unique history of the Galena area.  Other environmental awareness goals include encouraging natural habitat preservation, as well as teaching appreciation and wise use of the natural, cultural, and historical resources of the Galena Canyon area and the Mount Rose Scenic Byway.

The Recreation Area has been a cooperative venture between Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space and the USDA Forest Service for this $3.9 million project.  The impressive project consists of a 2,500-square- foot Visitor Center, pedestrian and equestrian trails/trailhead, restrooms, group and individual picnic sites and access to the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and the Mount Rose Wilderness.

The Recreation Area is constructed on National Forest System lands adjacent to Washoe County’s Galena Creek Regional Park.  Washoe County manages the area under a USFS Special Use Permit and has contracted with Great Basin Institute, a private non-profit organization, to operate the facility and provide educational programming for the public.

The Center includes a weather station, interpretive exhibits, gift shop and book store.
Numerous trails provide access to the forest for all levels of hikers, and yet remain close to Reno’s backyard.  Other new amenities include a trailhead for hiker and equestrian access and a 100-person group site.  The new site development has enhanced public safety on roads that access the Recreation Area; an acceleration, deceleration and turning lanes were constructed for the entrance.

Planning for this project began in the early 1990’s. The initial design concept was to provide camping for large motor homes and various multiple types of camping.  This design was addressing ongoing dispersed camping concerns, and sought to eliminate its impacts (destruction of vegetation, degradation of watersheds, etc.)

Funding was provided through a voter-approved bond issue and numerous grants, including National Scenic Byway and Recreation Trails Programs funding from the Federal Highways Administration. The contract to build the facility was awarded in 2007 to Sierra Nevada Inc. and KFC Construction from Reno, NV.
The Forest Service was selected to receive this prestigious award along with the Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space at the 2011 Nevada Recreation and Park Society State Conference.

The award was issued by the Nevada Recreation and Park Society for Park Excellence and was presented on Thursday, March 17, at the Society’s Awards and Installation Social in Henderson, Nevada.  For more information on the conference, please visit www.nrps.org.

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