Washoe Residents Raise Concerns Over Federal Lands Bill

Oct 8, 2016

A federal lands bill could mean Washoe County will acquire some public land. Our reporter Bob Conrad is finding that some who could be impacted by the proposed changes have got questions.

Draft maps show new potential land gained by Washoe County under a federal lands bill.
Credit ThisisReno.com

The legislation is called the “Economic Development and Conservation Act." A draft of the bill is not yet public, but Washoe County has held two open houses to gather questions and feedback.

County planning director Bill Whitney says the bill is 15 years in the making.

“The federal lands bill comes in two pieces. There’s the economic development portion and there’s the wilderness part of it. There’s new wilderness areas being proposed in northern Washoe County.”

With the changes, Washoe County would gain land that was previously designated as public...but how that land will be used remains to be seen.  Whitney says that question should be addressed as part of the process to develop the bill.

New land gained by the county could be developed, used for recreation or kept as public. Shevawn Von Tobel of Friends of Nevada Wilderness says the bill should do some of everything.

“The goal is to strike a good balance between conservation, development and preserving our great outdoor recreation that we have here in the county.”

Whitney, with the county, stresses that the lands bills is still in the works and getting public feedback is just the start of this process.