Cave Lake State Park in White Pine County just grew significantly bigger thanks to the transfer of almost 3,000 acres from U.S. Forest Service control.
State officials announced completion of the acquisition Friday, nearly tripling the size of the park. The 2,980 acres was designated for transfer in a 2006 federal lands bill.
JoAnn Kittrell, spokeswoman for Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said there are no detailed plans yet for the addition, but establishing new hiking trails is an obvious first step.
“It’s just pure, untouched land,” she said.
The transfer was one of three outlined in the White Pine County Conservation, Recreation and Development Act sponsored nine years ago by then-Sen. John Ensign.
So what took so long?
Kittrell said a land transfer requires a great deal of paperwork and staff time.
“There were a ton of Ts to cross and reviews and back-and-forths,” she said. “It’s not just as simple as, ‘Here, take this.'”
Cave Lake State Park, 13 miles southeast of Ely and about 250 miles north of Las Vegas, features a 32-acre reservoir surrounded by campsites and hiking trails that attract anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts. When the lake freezes over, the park plays host to an ice fishing derby and a snow and ice sculpture competition.
“Nevada’s State Parks are an integral part of the economy in our rural communities and to our state’s overall tourism sector,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a written statement. “This significant acquisition will benefit our parks system and eventually provide enhanced recreational opportunities for the many Nevadans and tourists who visit Cave Lake.”
Other acquisitions in the 2006 bill involve Bureau of Land Management administered lands in White Pine County that will be added to Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park and the Steptoe Wildlife Management Area. State officials expect those acquisitions to be completed by year’s end.
Contact Henry Brean at email@example.com or 702-383-0350. Follow him: @RefriedBrean