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Standley White

Stan's Reno / Tahoe Blog

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Reno / Tahoe site redesign coming

Friday May 30, 2014

A new look is coming to the RenoTahoe.About.com website, with better navigation and easier access to the Reno / Tahoe information you have come to expect.

We will be unveiling a website with more pictures and better access to current and relevant articles about the Reno / Tahoe region. It will still be unmistakably Reno / Tahoe, but you'll find a cleaner home page from which delving deeper will be a less complicated and more straight-forward affair. We think you will like it and have no trouble getting up to speed.

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California Trail Days - Wagons Ho!

Wednesday May 28, 2014

The California Trail Interpretive Center is hosting its annual California Trail Days event on Saturday and Sunday, May 31 and June 1, 2014. "Crafts along the Trail" is this year's theme. The event is free and open to the public.

Wagon display at the California Trail Interpretive Center near Elko, Nevada
Wagon display at the California Trail Interpretive Center near Elko, Nevada. Photo © Stan White

Visitors will enjoy demonstrations about leather tanning and shoe making. Shoshone women will be crafting baskets and cradle boards. You can also visit a Shoshone summer camp and watch native craftsmen make toys, tools, and weapons. You'll hear the sound of a hammer ringing against the anvil as a blacksmith makes the tools and equipment that helped make possible the settling of the American West. Compare this to the delicate work of a tin smith fabricating pans, plates, and cups ideal for the trail and the kitchen. There will be historic weapons, black powder demonstrations, gold panning, and music from the time period. Children will be able to play the games the pioneers played and take wagon rides. More than 30 re-enactors will be in period dress. Southwind Band will play at the dance Saturday night.

Between 1841 and 1869, up to 250,000 people headed for California and Oregon along the California Trail. They crossed the entire width of what is now Nevada. Depending on their ultimate destination, they passed through the Truckee Meadows or Carson City areas before crossing the Sierra Nevada, or went north to Oregon through the Black Rock Desert. At the California Trail Interpretive Center, learn the stories of the pioneers who endured the 2,000 mile trek - the ones who made it and the ones who died trying.

Operated by the Bureau of Land Management, the California Trail Interpretive Center is eight miles west of Elko on I80, at Hunter Exit 292. The Center is open all year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. It's closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. Call (775) 738-1849 for more information.

Source: BLM Elko District Office press release.

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Running, biking and water events around Reno

Monday May 26, 2014

Running, biking, and water events are making tracks and splashes all over the Reno / Tahoe region. Check these out for some fun things to do during the upcoming warm weather months.

Running events in Reno, Sparks, Lake Tahoe, Nevada, NV
Running event in Reno, Nevada.
Photo © Stan White

Over the last few years, the number of events on foot has grown from a few venerable runs and jogs to literally dozens of chances to strut your running stuff. One of the oldest is the Journal Jog in September. Another is the Sparks Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. Biggies now on the Reno / Tahoe scene include Ironman and Tough Mudder, both of which really put us on the human-powered sports map.

Organized, and not so organized, bicycle riding and water-based events are also rapidly gaining in participants in the region. Mountain and road biking have numerous events, as does kayaking and more recently, standup paddleboarding. A cool thing is that, in addition to serious competition, many events include ways for kids and families to get involved and just have fun. Get more information about all of these sports and learn how you can take part from "Reno / Tahoe Running Races, Bike Rides & Water Events."

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Wildfire season is here

Saturday May 24, 2014

May is Nevada Wildfire Awareness Month, but it seems that wildfire season lasts all year. Should you need a reminder of the constant danger, refer to the Hunter Falls Fire which broke out on Saturday night, May 17, just west of Reno. Wildfire safety needs to be on everyone's agenda.

Hunter Falls Fire burning west of Reno, Nevada
Hunter Falls Fire burning west of Reno, Nevada. Photo © Stan White

Despite late season rain and snow, it's mighty dry in the Reno / Tahoe area and we are beginning a fourth straight year of drought conditions. Vegetation is crispy and will only become more so as we move into the summer months. Local fire authorities say conditions are like they would be at the end of summer in a year with normal precipitation.

Even under these below normal conditions, upstream storage in Lake Tahoe and other reservoirs (Boca, Prosser, and Stampede) will provide adequate flows in the Truckee River and normal water service to downstream water users during 2014. Should next winter be the fourth dry season in a row, that situation will change and we will be looking at some serious water conservation measures.

Adequate water in the Truckee River doesn't do anything about the surrounding tinder dry landscape and the serious hazard it creates for Reno area residents. Learn more about what you can do to lessen wildfire danger from my "Reno / Tahoe Wildfire Safety" article. More information is available from our local Washoe County fire fighting agencies. Their business is to help residents prevent fires as well as stamping them out once they are burning.

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Memorial Day weekend at Galena Creek Visitor Center

Thursday May 22, 2014

Galena Creek Visitor Center in south Reno is offering four special programs during Memorial Day weekend.

Galena Creek Visitor Center near Reno, Nevada, NV
Logo image courtesy Great Basin Institute

Water Politics in Northern Nevada - Friday, May 23, 7 p.m. The Newlands Project, completed in 1915, was the first federally subsidized water reclamation scheme in the U.S. This presentation examines its construction and many unintended consequences, including deterioration of water quality, destruction of vital wetlands, interruption of ecosystems, and pollution of waterways and ground water.

Tuna and the State of Ocean Fisheries - Saturday, May 24, 2 p.m. Learn about the conditions surrounding world fisheries from Nick Webb, translator and editor with the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, the organization responsible for the conservation and management of tunas in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Thru-Hiking the John Muir Trail - Sunday, May 25, 2 p.m. Come spend an exciting time learning about what it takes to complete a long distance hike like the John Muir Trail, presented by former mountaineer and current long-distance senior aged hiker Peter Tremayne.

Mixosaurus: Nevada's Other Ichthyosaur - Sunday, May 25 through Sunday, June 1. The Galena Creek Visitor Center is hosting the W.M Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum's Mixosaurus fossil plaster cast exhibit. The Mixosaurus is a small, meter long species of Ichthyosaur that lived during the Triassic period. The Keck Museum is also holding a contest to name the Mixosaurus.

Galena Creek Visitor Center and Recreation Area is part of Galena Creek Regional Park, located at 18350 Mt. Rose Highway in south Reno. For more information, call (775) 849-4948. It is now open for summer season hours - 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Parking is free and there are no park entry fees.

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Things to do on Memorial Day weekend

Tuesday May 20, 2014

The Memorial Day three-day weekend offers numerous choices for things to do around Reno / Tahoe. Attractions like Wild Island Family Adventure Park in Sparks will be open and it should be a nice time to enjoy a visit to Lake Tahoe. The more adventurous might consider going to the Black Rock Rendezvous up in the wilds of the Black Rock Desert.

Memorial Day in Reno, Nevada, NV
Reno / Tahoe Memorial Day.
Photo © Stan White

The Virginia & Truckee Railroad will be running trips on Memorial Day weekend, and the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City will be open and offer rides aboard its vintage steam locomotive #25.

If you like to take time on Memorial Day to honor those who have died defending our country, there will be a service on Monday at 1 p.m. at Lone Mountain Cemetery in Carson City, a Celebration of Heroes Parade in Virginia City, and services at other memorial parks in the area.

Be sure to check the Reno area weather forecast before deciding what to do. Real summer weather isn't quite here, so a turn toward the stormy is still possible. As is always prudent, be ready for just about anything if you are going up to the mountains.

Going to be hitting the road for Memorial Day? Refer to "On the Road in Nevada - Information About Driving in Reno and Nevada" for stuff like gas prices, driving distances, highway conditions, road construction, and more.

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2014 early voting begins on Saturday, May 24

Sunday May 18, 2014

Early voting for the 2014 Primary Election begins on Saturday, May 24, and continues through Friday, June 6. If standing in line on Primary Election Day (Tuesday, June 10) isn't your thing, early voting is the way to go.

Early voting 2014, primary election in Reno, Nevada, NV
Photo © Stan White

You can vote early at any of these polling locations throughout Washoe County. On Election Day, however, you must go to the designated polling place in your precinct.

Reno and Sparks city council members and mayors, along with Nevada governor and other statewide offices, will be on the ballot. Voters will be selecting members of the Washoe County Commission, the Nevada Legislature, and U.S. Congress as well. For a refresher on who is running for what office, refer to these articles for partisan and nonpartisan offices.

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Black Rock Station open for the 2014 season

Friday May 16, 2014

Black Rock Station visitor contact center, operated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), is now open for the 2014 season through the end of October. The Station is just west of Gerlach, Nevada, at the entrance to Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area (NCA).

Black Rock Station in Gerlach, Nevada, NV
Black Rock Station is the visitor contact center for the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area north of Reno, Nevada. Photo © Stan White.

The Station will usually be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Monday. It is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. "The Black Rock Desert is a remote and primitive area," said Gene Seidlitz, BLM Winnemucca District Manager. "The Station is an important stopping off place for visitors to get information that will help them understand and enjoy the area, as well as to become aware of important safety and survival tips." Both seasoned desert rats and new visitors to the wilds of the Nevada outback should stop here before continuing into the NCA.

Visitors to Black Rock Station can learn about this beautiful area through interpretive panels and maps. Pick up important safety information, as well as information on the cultural and natural resources in the area, which include wildlife, plants, wilderness, and recreational opportunities. For more information regarding visiting the Black Rock area, contact James Schenck at (775) 557-2503.

An excellent source for lots of information about the Black Rock Desert NCA is Friends of Black Rock High Rock. Check out this site before venturing into the remote reaches north of Gerlach. You can get a look at some of the area from my Black Rock Desert pictures taken at a past Black Rock Rendezvous event held during Memorial Day weekend (sponsored in part by Friends of Black Rock High Rock).

Source: BLM Winnemucca District Office press release.

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Older Americans Month in Washoe County

Wednesday May 14, 2014

May is Older Americans Month and there are numerous activities (mostly free) throughout the Reno area for senior citizens and family and friends of all ages.

May is Older Americans Month
May is Older Americans Month.
Photo (c) Mike Harrington / Getty Images / Photodisc

Older Americans Month is a nationwide celebration designed to recognize the contributions our older citizens make and to help them lead long and healthy lives. The 2014 theme is Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow. Washoe County Senior Services is the main sponsor, along with the City of Reno, City of Sparks, Incline Village General Improvement District, Sun Valley General Improvement District, Reno Senior Citizens Advisory Committee, National Automobile Museum, Nevada Museum of Art, Fleischmann Planetarium, and the Reno Aces.

Activities will be held at numerous places throughout the area, from Incline Village at Lake Tahoe to Gerlach. For a list of events and how to participate, refer to my "May is Older Americans Month" article for various links, including one to the online guide and schedule.

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Reno and Sparks spring / summer recreation guides

Monday May 12, 2014

Spring is here, which means it's time to switch into warm weather mode for recreational activities in and around the Truckee Meadows. If you need some ideas about things to do, check out these recreation guides from the cities of Reno and Sparks.

Reno Parks and Recreation Program Brochure for spring/summer, 2014
Reno Parks and Recreation Program Guide for spring/summer, 2014.
Image courtesy City of Reno

In Reno, the city's Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department has a whole host of choices for recreation during spring and summer, including dance, fitness, pools and aquatics, senior activities, programs and camps for kids, adult and youth sports, shelter and facilities rentals, and lots more. Learn about the who, what, when, and where in the "Reno Recreation Program Guide" for spring/summer 2014. My article tells where to get a paper copy and how to download it from the city's website.

The City of Sparks Parks and Recreation Department puts out a similar publication called the "Sparks Recreation Activity Guide". It covers the same season as Reno's and includes activities like aquatics and swimming, dance, arts, Kids Out-of-School Programs, senior programs, adult sports, and information about community centers. As with Reno, my articles tells you where to get a paper copy and how to download it from the Sparks website.

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