Nevada receives donation to establish new state park along Walker River

Courtesy photo
The new park stretches along 29 miles of the East Walker River, and includes the Pitchfork, Rafter 7, Flying M and Nine Mile Ranch properties.

The creation of a new Nevada State Park, known as the Walker River State Recreation Area is official. This week, the Nevada Division of State Lands accepted the gift deeds facilitated by the Walker Basin Conservancy, and will assign the donated property to the Nevada Division of State Parks for the development and management of the new park along the East Walker River in Lyon and Mineral Counties. This historic opportunity was made possible by a generous donation from the Walker Basin Restoration Program, which acquired these historic ranches along the Walker River with support through the Desert Terminal Lakes Act. The Walker Basin Conservancy’s mission is to help restore and maintain Walker Lake, while protecting the important agricultural and watershed interests along the Walker River. The new park stretches along 29 miles of the scenic East Walker River, and includes the Pitchfork, Rafter 7, Flying M and Nine Mile Ranch properties.

The majority of former ranchland and river frontage included in the transfer has not been accessible to the public for over 125 years. Through the establishment of the Walker River State Recreation Area, visitors will soon have access to a pristine river corridor along the East Walker River. Diverse recreation opportunities include camping, kayaking, OHV-designated terrain, equestrian trails and fishing. The Nevada Division of State Parks also plans to establish a fishery at the Pitchfork Ranch property in cooperation with the Nevada Division of Wildlife.

“We are excited to begin developing this new state park for the enjoyment of all Nevadans,” said Eric Johnson, Administrator of the Nevada Division of State Parks. “This is a rare opportunity to open these historic ranch properties to the public and to give Nevadans access to a unique part of the state.”

The Nevada Division of State Parks will work with the Walker Basin Conservancy and the Nevada Department of Wildlife on stewardship activities that address dust abatement, soil stabilization, and noxious weed control on the former agriculture fields. They will also work to protect priority habitat for the Bi-State Sage-Grouse. 901 S. Stewart Street, Suite 1003 • Carson City, Nevada 89701 • p: 775.684.2700 • f: 775.684.2706 • Printed on recycled paper.

“Establishing a new state park for Nevada ensures these historic ranches continue to be managed and protected for the health of the Walker River and Walker Basin. I’m looking forward to the transition and working alongside the Division of State Parks well into the future” said Jeff Bryant, Executive Director of the Walker Basin Conservancy.

While the land transfer is an important first step in development of this park, the Walker River State Recreation Area will not officially open until the Nevada Division of State Parks has staffed the area, completed a safety assessment, and finalized preliminary development. Limited access is due to begin in the fall of 2017. Visit for details and updates.

Sign Up for Email Updates

Get the latest news, alerts, and more from the Independent-News straight to your inbox.


  1. Rick O'Brien says:

    There goes the neighborhood ! Now the East Fork of the Walker River will become a trash-dump, it will be over-fished, over-hunted, the all terrain vehicles will ruin the landscape, and the Mineral ,Lyon County Sheriffs will be making daily trips out there to assist the Rangers. It was nice while it lasted, but the end of a pristine river fishery, (that most folks never new it existed) is in the very near future.

    • Paul Yohey says:

      Really? I guess you’re a glass-half-full kind of guy…..
      I think what I am most concerned with is the concentrated feedlot Dairy ainSmith Valley which is absolute ruin one of the most beautiful spots in Lyon County… Have you noticed that Smith Valley doesn’t smell very good these days?