Pending approval by the Board of County Commissioners, former Beatty Town Advisory Board member Kelly Carroll will be rejoining the board to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Rob Shirley. At their July 13 meeting, the board voted to forward his name to the BoCC for approval.
The board also considered a request from Best in the Desert Racing for approval to use county roads for their August 14 “Vegas to Reno” race. As usual, the board’s main concern was the condition of the roads after the race.
Donald Jackson, from Best in the Desert, who joined the meeting via teleconference, said that some of the road being used was already in such bad shape from rain erosion, that he could commit to leaving it in better condition after the race than it was in before.
The race is altering its route this year to avoid Nature Conservancy property, and also had to be further altered to avoid archeologically sensitive areas. That second alteration will have the race using roads near the former Pioneer and Mayflower mines. A letter from the board to Best in the Desert describes the route as “significant to Beatty’s outdoor recreation planning because of its interesting historical mining site remnants and geology.”
The board is requesting that this area of the race course be restricted to 25 miles per hour as a condition of BLM approval of the permit. The board offered to help in finding volunteers to monitor the speed in that area, and Jackson welcomed the offer.
Another part of the road between Lower Indian Spring and Crystal Spring, known as “Sober Up Gulch” has been of particular concern to Karl Olson, organizer of the VFW’s annual poker run and creator of off-road exploration routes in the area.
Olson stated in the past that part of that road is already destroyed down to bedrock, and board member Randy Reed said he didn’t see how anyone could grade it.
The board’s letter says that the BLM and local residents will be making a photographic record of the route before and after the race and after Best in the West’s restoration is complete.
“Should issues arise during the post-restoration survey,” the letter continues, “the BTAB will request that the BLM retain the bond posted by BITD until those issues are satisfactorily resolved, and the condition of the road is restored and a report stating such is delivered to the Board (BTAB).”
The board had already expressed concerns regarding the preservation of off-road attractions in the area in responding to requests for support by gold exploration companies in the area.
At the July 13th meeting, they took up the topic again, in providing comment on a plan of operations environmental assessment by Coeur Sterling, Inc.
Erika Gerling said that locals were already concerned about the effects of exploratory drilling in the area.
“I’ve lost track of all the exploration companies,” said Gerling, saying of the drilling, “It really leaves scars.” She wondered if it would be possible for the companies to do more remediation as they go, rather than waiting until all the project is complete.
The board’s letter of comment reiterated the importance of outdoor recreation to the town’s residents and to its plans for off-road recreation tourism. It again contained a list of areas of particular importance in that regard.
Board Chairman Dick Gardner said that he had seen the economic benefit of mining activity in Winnemucca, and was concerned that, if we made it too difficult for mining operations, they might pull up stakes and go elsewhere.
The board gave its go-ahead for Radio Goldfield to install an antenna and equipment at the Beatty Community Center to pick up the station from the Internet and broadcast it to the town. Carl Brownfield said that the original plan was to use a translator on Bare Mountain, but the signal from there is blocked by mountains for much of the town.
Marty Campbell gave a brief report of Beatty Senior Center activities. He said that they will be opening their second-hand store behind the Senior Center on July 23, with limited days and hours, depending on volunteers to man it.
Campbell also said that those not taking advantage of lunch from the Senior Center are missing out on “some really good meals.” Curb-side pickup of lunch is available Monday-Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Richard Stephens is a freelance reporter living in Beatty.