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November 28, 2014

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Heller, Reid bill tackles Douglas County land issues

Douglas County’s public lands issues now have a proposed federal solution, after Nevada Sens. Harry Reid and Dean Heller introduced a bill Tuesday to address everything from economic development to wilderness and sage grouse protection.

The bill, titled “The Douglas County Conservation Bill,” would give the necessary permission for municipal and other entities to obtain or purchase federal public lands and transfer “important cultural sites” to the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California. It would also give certain tracts of land to the county to improve flood control and the management of key infrastructure.

On the preservation side, the bill provides for protection of sage grouse habitat and designates the Burbank Canyons Wilderness Study Area as wilderness area.

In years past, there has been some controversy over turning the 13,400 acre tract of the Burbank Canyons area into wilderness. But Heller and Reid said the bill had been developed “through an exhaustive public process.”

“This bill is a culmination of more than a dozen years of work between state, local and federal officials and I am pleased with the results,” Heller said in a statement. “This bill will provide economic opportunity while preserving the rural character of the Carson Valley.”

“I am happy to join Sen. Heller in introducing this balanced piece of legislation,” Reid said. “Douglas County is a spectacular place and I commend the local community for all their hard work to protect and promote it.”

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