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Final OK gives Nevada state parks a 12,000-acre boost

Updated June 20, 2017 - 7:48 pm

CARSON CITY — Nevada’s state park system grew by 12,000 acres Tuesday with approval by a legislative panel to accept the scenic land along the East Fork of the Walker River.

The Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee accepted the transfer of land, formerly three privately held ranches, which includes 28 miles of river access known for exceptional fishing habitat.

Gov. Brian Sandoval announced creation of the Walker River State Recreation Area, about 60 miles south of Carson City, in his State of the State address in January. The park was a priority this legislative session for his administration.

State lawmakers approved $8 million in one-time and continuing funding to open and operate the park.

The property had been in private hands since before Nevada became a state and included the Pitchfork Ranch, Rafter 7 Ranch and Flying M Ranch. The Flying M was previously owned by hotel magnate Barron Hilton.

The lands were acquired through the efforts of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to secure water rights to protect and preserve Walker Lake, downstream near Hawthorne.

Contact Sandra Chereb at schereb@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3821. Follow @SandraChereb on Twitter.

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