The proposed Walker River State Recreation site would encompass lands within Mineral County, mostly ranch properties including: The Pitchfork Ranch, Rafter 7, Flying M and Nine-Mile Ranch. The properties had been purchased through the Walker River Restoration Program and will include around 267,000 acres of land, including 28 miles along the East Walker River.
Mergell made it clear that no roads would be closed along the proposed park. He was adamant in reminding people that the Walker River State Recreation site has not given the state park a budget nor have they accepted to accept the property so no decisions have been made.
Along with no road closure, there will be no tolls taken. The only charge would be an entrance fee of $5 which would be the same as if you were entering any other national or state park. The state park administration has met Lyon and Mineral County road department directors and officials from Nevada Department of Transportation.
“We couldn’t shut the roads if we wanted to,” Mergell commented. “They are county maintained roads.”
A total of four rangers would be hired to maintain the property. These rangers will be spread out from The Pitchfork Ranch to Flying M to Rafter 7 and out to Nine-Mile Ranch, along the river corridor.
No KOA type campground will be opened at the Nine-Mile Ranch. Instead, the hopes of Mergell would be that of full-hookup type camping. The Pitchfork Ranch will be designed for more “camping” experiences. He adamantly stated that no “convience” type stores will be opened in the area. Possibly the opening of a gift shop at some of the locations.
Restoration of the damaged ranch house at Nine-Mile will also be included in the state park’s budget, if approved.
Mergell met with members of the Walker Lake Working Group to squelch rumors that have been floating around regarding the project. He was available to answer questions and to inform the group of concerns they had.