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Tahoe Rim Trail and Carson Valley connection

Susie Vasquez

While homes will be built on part of Carson Valley’s historic Adams Ranch, much of the land has been earmarked for preservation and could end up connected to the Tahoe Rim Trail, a 165-mile loop around Lake Tahoe.

The ranch, which skirts the valley floor and extends up the eastern slope of the Sierra about three miles north of Genoa, is the oldest continuously owned family ranch in the state dating to 1853, according to Nevada State Archivist Guy Rocha.

A development group called Eagle Ridge purchased part of the property from the Adams family about a year ago to build 55 homes on a 270-acre section at the base of the mountain. But two other parcels totaling about 725 acres could be purchased for the U.S. Forest Service and would likely be set aside for recreation. The balance of the original 1,300-acre ranch belongs to the family.



Recreational use of the property would primarily be via an old logging road. Twisting its way up Adams Canyon to Genoa Peak, the road could provide access for hikers, mountain bikers and/or horseback riding.

“The Adams family protected the land, but they also maintained the road,” said Gary Painter, a managing partner for Eagle Ridge at Genoa. “We’re excited about the opportunity to connect that trail to the Tahoe Rim Trail, making it the first connection between the Rim Trail and the Carson Valley.”



Mark Kimbrough, executive director of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, welcomed Painter’s proposal. Kimbrough said Sacramento, Reno, Truckee, Carson City and Douglas County are also looking for ways to connect with the trail.

“We would certainly work with those groups to support that activity,” Kimbrough said. “It’s part of the experience and part of our mission to bring people to the beauty of Lake Tahoe, getting people the opportunity to be at the lake and enjoy the spectacular view the rim trail affords.”

It will be months before the funding is secured to buy the ranch land and protect it as open space. Once the money is made available through the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, the ranch land would be turned over to the U.S. Forest Service, which controls the parcels on either side of the property. The Trust for Public Lands, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to land conservation for people to enjoy, is orchestrating the transaction.

The Eagle Ridge project will be at the base of the mountain and offer a commanding view to the east. Roads are being carved into the mountain, accented by a tangle of sage and bitterbrush and a few towering pines.

Reservations have been taken for 50 of the 55 lots, the average price running between $450,000 and $500,000. Painter said the project has received good support from both the planning commission and county commissioners.

“There’s a strong value in allowing the face of the mountain for open space use,” Painter said. “The land above is beautiful, and will offer a more attractive viewshed from the valley. The homes will be located below, on a portion of the project least impacting the views.”

The Adams homestead dates back to 1853 when John Quincy Adams moved here from Utah, where he raised livestock and crops with his father, according to “History of Nevada,” a book published in 1881 by Thompson and West.

Together with his brother, Rufus, they ranched in the Carson Valley for a short time before selling half of their land and building a large brick home. The brothers continued to ranch and prices were good, according to “History of Nevada.”

“For five years they kept a hotel. Going back to his former business, he made the brick used in the construction of the United States Branch Mint at Carson City, also for the Court House at Genoa,” according to “History of Nevada.”

John Quincy Adams married Ellen Dolan in October of 1866 and their first child, Mary Lydia came shortly after, in July of 1867. A son, John Elias, was born in December of 1868 and a second son, William Rufus, in November of 1871.

– Tribune staff writer Gregory Crofton contributed to this report.


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