Land transfer will create new Nevada state park

Nevada officials recently notified Gov. Brian Sandoval and the Board of Examiners that lawmakers will soon be asked to approve a conveyance agreement to accept 12,000 acres of land along the East Fork of the Walker River.

The property, in private hands since before Nevada became a state, includes 28 miles of river access and will soon become one of Nevada’s newest state parks.

“Nobody has been able to have access to that land in 152 years,” Sandoval said. “This is going to be an incredible destination.”

The transfer of the land that will become Walker River State Recreation Area is valued at more than $8 million and comes at no charge to the state. The Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee was to consider the request at its meeting this week.

The lands, about 60 miles south of Carson City, are the Pitchfork Ranch, Rafter 7 ranch, Flying M Ranch, Nine Mile Ranch and Wabuska Gauge. The lands were acquired through the efforts of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to secure water rights to protect and preserve Walker Lake, which lies downstream.

Sandoval signed a bill into law earlier this month providing funding for the new recreation area totaling $8 million in ongoing and one-time funds to open and operate the park.

“This is a generational opportunity,” he said.

The property includes prime fishing habitat and historical structures, including a stagecoach stop that predates Nevada statehood, Sandoval said.

The Flying M Ranch was formerly owned by Barron Hilton.

It also includes the Nine Mile Ranch house, the oldest intact building in Mineral County, which was damaged in an earthquake in late 2016, according to a report from the Mineral County Independent-News.

Mark Twain referenced the ranch in his book, “Roughing It.”

Contact Sean Whaley at or 775-461-3820. Follow @seanw801 on Twitter.