Truckee Meadows Public Lands Management Act
Questions, comments or requests for information on conservation lands being considered for inclusion in the Truckee Meadows Public Lands Management Act may be submitted to Discussions are ongoing for these designations.


Between April and July of 2016, Washoe County, the City of Reno and City of Sparks approved letters of resolution to support the creation of a lands bill to address population growth occurring in Washoe County. Since that time, much work has been done to create a proposal for federal legislation to help our region with growth and establishing permanent conservation lands in Washoe County.

The three entities have been working regionally to create a new proposal based on much of the feedback and concerns voiced by residents and stakeholders in the previous process. These efforts are still in progress and it is important that feedback and input continue – the email below is an opportunity to provide input in this important process.

The Nevada model, created by the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act (SNPLMA), allowed for federal lands to be recommended for development, created permanent land conservation and helped to fund additional land preservation and conservation projects statewide.

The goals of the Truckee Meadows Public Lands Management Act is to:

  • Address housing demand and affordability
  • Encourage infill development; maximize utilization of existing infrastructure
  • Fund continued preservation of open space; enhance quality of life
  • Support trail and park infrastructure enhancements (i.e. Truckee River Linear Park)
  • Assist with Public Land Management; improve access to recreation and resources for land management
  • Creation of new additional Wilderness Areas in northern Washoe County
  • Improve local infrastructure to address growth (transit, water storage, flood management)
  • Align with the Regional Plan Update
  • Ensure disposal parcels follow existing local and federal regulations and development standards

All lands that are eligible for sale shall be nominated and have to have a complete review by the Federal agency who holds the land to determine if sale and development of the land is appropriate. The land will be auctioned and not sold for less than fair market value. The development of the land will follow all current requirements including review by the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency as well as the jurisdiction that the land is being developed in.

Benefits to the Truckee Meadows

Eighty-three percent (83%) of Washoe County is owned by the Federal Government. There are “checker board” lands within the current region that are federally held and therefore unable to be developed. This Public Lands Management Act gives the local governments a say in where land is sold and developed to ensure it is sustainable and supportable growth. This will allow for those federally owned land to be sold and developed to support better infill and closer proximity to current infrastructure.

Revenue for the sale of these federal lands will be split between the State of Nevada General Education Fund (5%), local governments (10%), and a special account available to the Secretary of the Treasury (85%). This means that the proceeds from the sale of land in Washoe County will stay in Washoe County to benefit the residents here rather than those funds going back to Washington.

The special account can be used for things such as:

  • Parks, Trails, and Natural Areas
  • Hazardous Fuels Reduction and Wildfire Prevention
  • Conservation Initiatives i.e. Truckee River Corridor and Peavine Mountain
  • Sage Grouse Habitat Restoration
  • Acquisition of Environmentally Sensitive Lands

This proposal will authorize conveyance of other lands identified by the legislation to the following bodies;

  • Washoe County
  • City of Reno/ Reno City Land Trust
  • City of Sparks
  • Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District
  • Washoe County School District
  • Regional Transportation Commission
  • Truckee Meadows Water Authority
  • Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility
  • Truckee River Flood Management Authority
  • Nevada Department of Wildlife

If all the parcels within the disposal boundary that are not restricted were to be sold it would account for less than 2% of the federal land holdings in Washoe County. Meaning that the current 83% federal land would decrease to approximately 81% of the land in Washoe County being federal owned.

Conservation Designations:

The proposal will include creation of Wilderness Areas, National Conservation Areas as well as return to public multi-use of Wilderness Study Areas. The areas being returned to public multi-use do not qualify or are not appropriate for Wilderness.

  • Wilderness Study Areas are permanent until Congress acts through legislation (in this case, through the Truckee Meadows Public Lands Management Act).
  • Wilderness study areas can be much more restrictive than designated Wilderness.
  • The proposal for the bill will include grazing within designated Wilderness Areas to be protected under the law.
  • Grazing is not protected under wilderness study status, but through the proposed legislation it will be protected in new wilderness and national conservation areas.
  • Hunting and other recreational activities are allowed to continue.
  • Motorized vehicle use is only permitted on marked roads in Wilderness Areas.

Washoe County currently has 167,319 acres of wilderness from the Mount Rose Wilderness designated in 1989 and the East Fork High Rock Canyon, High Rock Canyon and Little High Rock Canyon designated in 2000. Washoe County currently has 27,277 acres of National Conservation Areas from the Black Rock Desert/High Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, designated in 2000. Washoe County also contains a portion of the Sheldon National Refuge for a total of 189,252 acres created in 1931 and 1936. This means Washoe County currently has permanent conservation acreage of 383,848 acres. With this proposal the permanent conservation in Washoe County will be increased to help ensure preservation of our lands for future generations.

With this proposal there will be additional acres of permanent conservation through newly designated Wilderness Areas and National Conservation Areas.

The proposal will focus on the 12 Wilderness Study Areas in northern Washoe County, please see the map below for more details.

Steps for the proposal
1. Create a proposal
2. Public Process to review the proposal
3. Local Governments sign a letter of resolution supporting a proposal be sent to the federal delegation
4. The proposal is sent to Washington DC to review the maps and formalize the proposal into a piece of legislation that can be introduced to Congress
5. The proposed legislation is turned into a bill that our delegation will introduce into Congress
6. Congress will need to approve the legislation and be signed by the President to become law
7. A group will be created to review and submit proposals for how the special account shall be spent. An inter-local agreement will be created between Washoe County, City of Reno and City of Sparks to determine how the 10% of the proceeds from the sale of the land for local governments will be spent.

Comments and Feedback

A public online comment section is available.
By clicking on the button below you can leave a comment and view other outside feedback that has been submitted.

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