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The Open Space Program is administered by the Parks and Recreation Department, Open Space Division.



The Open Space Program was created by the Quality of Life Initiative, or Question 18, passed by Carson City voters in 1996. The Quality of Life Initiative included the acquisition, development and maintenance of parks, opens space, trails and recreation facilities through an increase in the sales tax rate of ¼ of 1 percent. Forty percent of the funds are designated for the Open Space Program, which currently results in approximately $800,000 annual revenue. The Open Space Program does not operate on any revenue from the General Fund.

Since its inception, the Open Space Program has acquired 15+ properties plus one 50-year open space protection agreement and one conservation easement (the land remains privately-owned but there are restrictions on development). Two properties were donated to the program. Additional lands have been and will be acquired through a lands exchange with the federal government.

The Open Space Program currently manages 3,350 acres. After the lands exchange, anticipated in 2014, the program will be managing 6,940 acres.


Carson City Municipal Code

Chapter 13.06 of the Carson City Municipal Code provides a descriptive summary of the program: “Generally, lands acquired with open space funds shall be preserved and managed in a near natural condition. Such lands might include scenic vistas, wetlands, streams, floodplains, trail corridors, agricultural lands, highly visible natural areas along major streets and open space buffers. Open space land will generally be open for passive recreation improvements developed where appropriate and environmentally compatible. Examples of compatible passive recreation include hiking, bicycling, equestrian trail uses, nature study, interpretive facilities, wildlife habitat, fishing and photography, or similar compatible uses. Development of traditional, active recreational facilities, such as athletic fields, swimming pools, and tennis courts are precluded.”


A Few Facts:

  • The first purchase was the Moffat Open Space, completed in 2000 and consisting of 18 acres. It is located on the east side of town between Fairview Dr., Hells Bells Rd., and Lepire Dr.
  • The most recent purchase, in 2013, included 21 acres located at the base of C-Hill from the Potter Family.
  • The smallest property is the Fulstone Wetlands, consisting of 8.6 acres and located just north of the Boys and Girls Club.
  • The largest acquisition, from the Bently Family Ltd Partnership, consisted of nearly 500 acres. In combination with another acquisition, this property is known as the Carson River Canyon Open Space.

Open Space Advisory Committee

Open Space Plan

Open Space Properties

Last updated: 9/11/2015 10:47:48 AM