The scenic views along the East Walker River continue to offer a serene valley of ember-colored rocks, lush green brush and the distinct smell of desert sage. Formerly a territory of privately-owned historic ranch land and river front properties, it has now been formally assigned to the Nevada Department of State Parks in a management agreement.
Through a generous donation from the Walker River Basin Restoration Program, this historic region was acquired in support of the Desert Terminal Lakes Act. Working in conjunction with the acquisition of this property the Walker Basin Conservancy, along with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, assigned the Nevada State Parks to the task of creating remote camping and day use sites that would bring an improvement to the outdoor experience by offering a sanitary and safe environment for humans, as well as managing the long-term health of the area wildlife.
Marked sites at the “Elbow” area of the East Walker River now house picnic tables, spacious dry camping spots (no water or electric provided), restrooms, fire pits, trash disposal stations and the retention of a primitive, relaxing atmosphere. Single site use, as well as group areas, are designated for overnight camping or day use enjoyment. Minimal fees are publicly posted and required, with envelopes provided for payment which can be placed in a marked slotted container.
There is no toll booth, park ranger or manned fee station when driving along the roadside and camp sites are arranged with a private, rural aspect in mind.
Jenny Ramella, Education and Information Officer of Nevada State Parks shared her overview of the new park by stating, “We are proud to be part of this remote area of Nevada’s natural resources and glad to offer the upgrades to the area which can address not only the sanitation issues, but also improve the overall experience of the rural backroads.”
She went on to explain that prior access into these areas was considered trespassing, as the area had been privately-owned ranches and frontage riverbeds. In review, some sections were depleted without oversight. With the protection of the environment and general safety issues addressed, plus the proper sanitation of maintenance, many other tasks are now being served by the Nevada State Parks. Dust abatement, soil stabilization, weed controls and proper oversight are just a few of the positive efforts being done to sustain the wilderness within this area’s backroads.
Ramella explained that by acquiring the ownership for “public land use”, an effort toward preservation and protection can occur within a long-term solution to encourage the overall betterment throughout the public’s roadside travels. Even the rural area known as “Fletcher” received a public restroom to accommodate an easier off-road experience.
Camping, shoreline fishing, OHV (off-highway vehicles) in designated terrain, kayaking and equestrian trails are just some of the amenities now offered within the area.
Ramella expressed, “We all agree that the natural environment needs to be enjoyed, preserved and safely protected.”
Fees Currently Posted
Day-Use Entrance – $5
Camping and entrance fee per vehicle/ per night – $15
Bicycle/Horse ride-ins/ Walk-ins or Buses – $2
Group Use Reservations – contact the offices
Other items of interest would include $1 off for the disabled, which applies to the vehicle entrance fees. Annual permits, such as entry permits or annual access, may be obtained by calling the Nevada State Parks number. Discounts will apply for senior permits and disabled veterans. Federal permits such as the Golden Age/Eagle Access cards are not accepted in the State Park facilities.
Self-pay instructions are clearly posted, as well as limitations to the park, such as no generator use during quiet hours, trailers cannot be left unattended overnight and a camping limit of 14 days during a 30-day period will be enforced. Fee compliance is required and checked periodically. Fines will be written if not in compliance to the posted amounts.