The saying, “without a plan you plan to fail” came into view as a handful of Walker Lake residents attended a public workshop at the Walker Lake Community Center, on Jan. 18, facilitated by Dana Freud from Lincoln County. Freud’s expertise was based upon a wide background in community building, event planning and tourism. She also was a training instructor and a business owner within various parts of the state.
Freud’s focus in coming to Walker Lake was to help establish a community pathway. With a written mission statement, beginning with community conversations and based upon a consensus of those attending, many ideas, concerns, opinions and feelings were put down on paper. Opportunities were identified, as well as overcoming factors, which would allow a vision of the township to formulate.
By using examples of other town locations, Freud created an overview of how town reputations develop and destination features can be enhanced and built over time. “Identify your stakeholders, your leaders, your volunteers or available talents, as well as the property owners and available properties. Build relationships and partnerships and in this you are creating a foundation and a vision that has solid goals,” stated Freud.
The emphasis of the five-hour effort was designed to root out what residents may individually envision for the future of Walker Lake. By giving everyone a voice, an open conversation was encouraged to find out what the dreams, concerns and visions for Walker Lake may be. In asking why residents came to Walker Lake and why they were attending the workshop, a strong sense of recreating a positive community spirit was shared by many, as well as a desire to bring the resident artisans forward to create a coalition of various talents.
A Schurz resident, who is part of the tribal leadership, Cynthia Oseguera, was in attendance to share many Native Indian aspects surrounding Walker Lake, Mount Grant and the local history, which included the folklore of what is presently known as Cecil the Serpent. Oseguera shared about the ancient historic grounds, the Tufa rock formations wrapping around the cliffs along Highway 9, and some vital, sacred traditions which surrounded the important aspects of local culture, as the Paiute Tribe used the lake as their legacy known as “fish eaters”. Attendees agreed that these facts needed to remain woven within the culture of Walker Lake’s future vision.
In seeking a way to market the township with these vast abilities, many shared a common goal of becoming an art community, while others expressed their concerns of the current blight and safety risks, due to the deterioration of many abandoned properties. Improving upon the overall appeal of the township was a common goal, as well as re-establishing and supporting local business endeavors within the city limits.
“One commonality which we already share is holding a cup of coffee while we watch our amazing sunrises unfold every morning. Every day we get to see a brand new view of so many colors and that changes every day,” resident Shelley Hartmann shared.
The natural landscapes, awesome lake views, local wildlife and the peaceful environment seemed to be of shared importance to everyone living within the Walker Lake Township. Attendees agreed, these aspects would hold the most vital emphasis in moving forward.