New federal bill could have major implications for Tahoe development

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New federal bill could have major implications for Tahoe development

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A new federal bill being introduced could have major impacts for development and conservation for those living near Tahoe.

A new federal bill being introduced could have a major impact on development and conservation for those living near Tahoe.

In the north of Douglas County, there's a 26 acre parcel of land that's wedged between stores like Target, Best Buy and Walmart. It's owned by the U.S. Forest Service with the intention of conservation, but it's really just home to some old pieces of furniture.

Steve Mokrohisky, who's the Douglas County Manager, says the land has no real conservation value and that the Douglas County Lands Bill, which was just introduced by Nevada's U.S. Senators Dean Heller and Harry Reid, would put that land to actual use.

"This is a balanced bi-partisan bill that really encourages development in areas where development is appropriate and preserves the natural beauty, the cultural heritage, the water quality for generations to come."

Mokrohisky says that parcel of land is a good example of what the bill does. It helps transfer federal land to the County and, in some cases, sell it commercially. In turn, the County would put those proceeds toward actual conservation, such as purchasing conservation easement on ranching lands in the Carson Valley.

The bill is not one thing: it cobbles together the interests of many, all the while trying to preserve the rural character of the area. In Lyon County, it would allow for greater access to unused forest near Tahoe. It will also convey cultural sites to the Washoe Tribe, and there's a wilderness component that sets aside lands in Burbank Canyons in Douglas County. It's the result of a four year long process that Mokrohisky says involved receiving input from all stakeholders.

Both Senators say they support the bill's effort to promote development in a smart way and say that it could provide economic opportunities, as well.