Recommended Region: The Carson Valley (Douglas County, West-central Nevada)

Monday, Oct 10, 2005

This area occupies the most prosperous county in Nevada (this statistic is skewed by Lake Tahoe basin residents in the county), and is an agricultural valley (mostly beef ranching) generally surrounded by mountain ranges. Just south of Carson City (the state capitol, population 50,000) it offers ideal off-the-grid solar climate with ample Sierra snow melt feeding the Carson River and sustaining aquifers. The county building department is a relatively non-intrusive rubber stamp, and the public schools have significantly higher academic standards than the norm. Douglas County is among the most conservative in Nevada, with registered Republicans outnumbering Democrats two-to-one. Residents are happy with the healthy, growing economy, but are worried about the effects of growth on their way-of-life (the 2% annual growth rate is less than half that of Las Vegas.) Concentrate on small towns on or near the Carson River such as Minden, Gardnerville, and Genoa. (About one third of the county’s 42,000 residents live in these towns.) Note, however, the desirability of these towns has driven up real estate prices steeply, and acreage becomes only somewhat affordable at a significant distance from town. Adjacent counties farther from Reno and Lake Tahoe (such as the Yerington area) may offer more attractive values.
Statistics (for Minden):
Average high temperature in August: 90.9
Average low temperature in January: 16.7
Growing season: 125 days.
Average snowfall in January: 5.8”
County Median residential home price: $134,275 (and rising fast!)
County Average Annual Property tax (% of assessed value): 0.74% to 1.08%, depending on district.
Advantages: More plentiful water than elsewhere in Nevada. Sunny climate for solar heat and power. Plenty of firewood compared to most of Nevada. More agriculture than elsewhere in Nevada, especially beef ranching.
Disadvantages: Downwind from nuclear targets in California. High-priced real estate. Like Wyoming, it may be ideal only for high-income earners attracted by the lack of income tax, who can afford extra preparedness costs (and the expensive real estate.) Continental climate. Proximity to California, although the Sierra Nevada range presents a formidable, defensible boundary. (Rumor has it that 50 years ago, Nevada’s civil defense plans included defending the mountain passes against post-nuclear California refugees.)

Grid Up Retreat Potential: 5 (On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best)

Grid Down Retreat Potential: 7 (On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best)

Nuclear Scenario Retreat Potential: 7 (On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best)


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