Ask Joe: Why is Spanish Springs recreation area now off-limits?

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From the Ask Joe file, we are addressing a question about a popular recreation area that is now essentially off-limits. Some of our viewers want to know what brought about the change..

Kim wrote in saying she and her family have enjoyed the area behind Spanish Springs High School for years as a place to hike and ride bikes.

She says now it is off-limits, and she is wondering what happened.

Here's what I found out:

The area we're talking about is 13,000 acres behind Spanish Springs High School, which once belonged to the Bureau of Land Management.

It is now tribal land. It was part of a deal signed by President Obama late last year called the Nevada Native Nations Land Act.

So the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony now controls the land.

We went out and checked it out for ourselves. There are signs that do say no dumping, no alcohol and no shooting. Also, off-road vehicles are only allowed in "designated areas."

And you are no longer allowed to hike or walk out in that area unless you have a permit to be there. Tribal spokeswoman Stacey Montooth says they want to control the area, keep it clean and keep it safe for everyone.

So keep in mind this is now tribal land. And tribal officers will be patrolling out there to watch for anyone who is not following the rules.

So far they've been issuing warnings, but these are federal laws we're talking about, and the Indian Colony says they will be cracking down accordingly in the future.

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