Friday, October 18, 2013

East Brockliss Loop trail at the River Fork Ranch east of Genoa

Leaf of common yarrow, planted at the River Fork Ranch east of Genoa
The River Fork Ranch is located at the biologically-diverse Great Basin/Sierra Nevada transition zone in the Carson Valley, where the West Fork Carson River and the East Fork Carson River merge and continue their meandering north-northeast flow as Carson River. The 805-acre working cattle ranch and nature preserve, owned by The Nature Conservancy, is home to the Whit Hall Interpretive Center. The preserve includes interpretive displays and hiking and bicycling trails through ranch land—an alternative to the many slope and canyon trails of the Genoa Trail System.

The 0.7-mile-long East Brockliss Loop trail starts and ends at the Whit Hall building, next to which selected plants, such as common yarrow (Achillea millefolium, Asteraceae), are featured. A yarrow leaf is shown above. Interpretive panels around the building showcase a multitude of interesting topics: GeoExchange systems, photovoltaics (solar panels), Carson Valley floodplain, ranching heritage and wildlife protection.

Walking southwest from the Interpretive Center and enjoying the view of the Carson Range, you will get to the Partners in Conservation panel, saying: 

Conservation of the important wetlands, meadows and stream-side habitat that make up The Nature Conservancy's River Fork Ranch owes much to the vision and determination of Carson Valley ranchers Judy and Bill Sturgis and the support of the Timken-Sturgis Foundation.
Our shared goal is to ensure the health and survival of the natural world that sustains us all.

Next to the panel is a bench donated by the family of Charles and Kerstin Wolle on their 50th anniversary. You'll find more benches along the loop. The path leads over boardwalks in places of seasonally wet soil. At its junction with the West Fork Trail, you may want to continue south along the West Fork Carson River or return to Whit Hall right away. 

Getting to the River Fork Ranch
The East Brockliss Loop is part of the Genoa Trail System. A map can also be viewed or downloaded via the Maps menu of my Explore Reno-Tahoe Portal.
From Genoa's Mormon Station State Park, drive east on Genoa Lane for less than two miles and turn right at the River Fork Ranch sign onto the parking area. The Whit Hall building is west of the parking space and the trailhead for both the loop and the two-mile-long West Fork Trail (one way) is at its south side next to the river. A ranch's welcome board says that both the West Fork Trail and the East Brockliss Loop are open daily from dawn to dusk for bicycle and foot travel only. Dogs are not allowed on the preserve.

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