A Guide to the Records of
Virginia Kersey
Collection No. 94-22

Virginia Kersey

Virginia (Ginnie) Kersey retired as a budget officer of the Planning, Budget and Analysis Division of the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1992. She has a long record of community involvement, especially in parks and recreational planning, both on the local level and statewide.

Kersey served two terms on the Washoe County Parks Commission from 1979-1987 and as chair for two and one-half years. She was a member of the Nevada State Parks Advisory Commission from 1985 until 1993, when the Commission was disbanded. She served as both vice chair and chair of the Commission.

Kersey represented the State Parks Commission's interests on the State Multiple Use Advisory Committee on Federal Lands from 1987 to 1993, when it was disbanded.

Rancho San Rafael was a large ranch in northwest Reno owned by Wilbur D. May. After May's death it was acquired by Washoe County which began planning for the park's development. Kersey served on two steering committees to make master plan recommendations for park development and financing.

One other organization in which Kersey played an active role was the Citizens for Parks and Trails 2000. Kersey and Eric Cronkhite as co-chairs lead this citizens' committee in developing a county-wide regional recreation facilities and trails master plan for the Board of County Commissioners. The result, a proposed Washoe County Regional Trail System, would have developed three regional parks and a system of trails to connect the whole Truckee Meadows and ultimately provide access to the Tahoe Rim and Pacific Crest Trails. Financing was to come from a $15 million bond issue (Question 10) placed on the November, 1988 county ballot but the issue was defeated by the voters.

Scope and Content

Virginia Kersey donated her papers to the Special Collections Department in 1994. They consist of two cubic feet of materials and date from 1981-1993. There are no restrictions on use of the collection.

The papers have been subdivided into four series, corresponding to park boards and commissions on which Kersey served: the Nevada State Parks Advisory Commission, the Nevada State Multiple Use Advisory Committee on Federal Lands, the Citizens for Parks and Trails 2000, and Rancho San Rafael Park.

This collection provides an overview of the philosophies and development of Nevada parks and recreational facilities during the 1980s and early 1990s, on both the regional and statewide level. The bulk of the first series consists of records of the Nevada State Parks Advisory Commission, including minutes of Commission meetings and memorandums from the administrator of the Division of State Parks. Planning for statewide programs is well documented, especially those files affiliated with "Question 5" which appeared on the November, 1990 general election ballot. This parks and wildlife bond issue passed with 66% of the statewide vote, and specified the use of funds for property acquisition, facilities development, and feasibility/master plan studies. The Commission also oversaw the administration of grant selection for Nevada's recreational trails program with funding from federal legislation (the Symms National Recreational Trails Act). Applications from all over the state were received, including one for a Steamboat Ditch model trail.

The State Multiple Use Advisory Committee on Federal Lands considered various uses of federal lands in Nevada, including mining, forestry, nuclear waste dumping, federal land exchanges, recreation, grazing, and wilderness designation. The series includes a list of Advisory Committee recommendations for 1987-1992, minutes, memos, and studies of special issues such as the Florida/Nevada Aerojet land exchange and the proposed Spring Mountain National Recreation Area.

Material in the series representing Citizens for Parks and Trails 2000 is fairly complete and includes working records documenting goals, objectives and methodology of the committee. According to Kersey, a few items were given to those people who were later instrumental in passage of the State Parks and Wildlife Bond issue. Draft copies and final plans as approved by the County Commissioners are included.

The files related to Rancho San Rafael (RSR) Park include minutes of the Citizens for RSR [Committee], planning documents, and master plan materials. Some records of the original RSR Masterplan Steering Committee, of which Kersey was chair, were given to the Washoe County Parks Department to be retained by the Parks Department (as have Kersey's records of her service on the Washoe County Parks Commission). Some of Kersey's RSR files are presently held by Dr. Elmer Rusco and will be added to this collection at a later time.

Processed by: Susan Searcy, Manuscript Curator
Date: June 10, 1994


The papers of Virginia Kersey have been arranged into the following series:

  1. Nevada State Parks Advisory Commission
  2. Nevada State Multiple Use Advisory Committee on Federal Lands
  3. Citizens for Parks and Trails 2000
  4. Rancho San Rafael Park


Series I. Nevada State Parks Advisory Commission. 1985-1993. .75 cu. ft.

The Nevada State Parks Commission was created by the same state legislation which created the Nevada State Parks System in 1935. The purpose of the System is to acquire, protect, develop, and interpret a well balanced system of areas of outstanding scenic, recreation, scientific, and historic importance for the use and enjoyment of the people who visit them. Until 1963 the Commission played an active role in the management of the parks system; thereafter the Commission's nature was that of an advisory body.

Virginia Kersey was appointed to the Commission in 1985 and served as chair and vice-chair. The Commission was disbanded in 1993 under Nevada's general government reorganization plan.

The Commission records represented here include minutes, memorandum from the system administrator, correspondence, extensive notes on the Question 5 of the November 1990 ballot (parks and wildlife bond money), budget planning for 1991-1995, grant applications under the Symms National Recreational Trails Act, Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation plans for 1982 and 1987, and reports on Spring Mountain recreational development. These records are arranged in general chronological order.

Box 1

I/1-2 Commission minutes, 1987-1992.

I/3-6 Memorandums, 1985-1991.

I/7 Position paper regarding use of Question 5 funds (Parks & Wildlife Bond issue), 1991.

I/8 Question 5, 1990-1991.

I/9 Planned allocations for Question 5 funds.

I/10 Question 5.

I/11 State Parks budget, 1993-1995/Question 5.

I/12 Question 5: acquisition, planning, design, and construction. 1991-93 biennial budget, with 1993-1997 projections.

I/13-15 Memorandums, agendas, recommendations, 1992

I/16 Nevada's Recreational Trails Program grants manual. Symms National Recreational Trails Act, Fy 1993.

I/17 Grant applications, 1993.

I/18 Grant applications, 1993, including one for Steamboat Ditch model trail.

I/19-20 Grant applications, 1993.

I/21 Park brochures.

I/22 Spring Mountain Feasibility Studies Executive Summary for Recreational Development of select areas, Dec. 18, 1991.

I/23-24 Recreation in Nevada: Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, 1982 and 1987.

I/25 Nevada 1992 SCORP issues, draft.

I/26 Nevada Recreation and Park Society Directory, 1992.

I/27 Oregon State Parks 2010 plan.


Series II. Nevada State Multiple Use Advisory Committee on Federal Lands. 1986-1992. .5 cu. ft.

Kersey represented the State Parks Advisory Commission's interest on the Multiple Use Advisory Committee and served from 1987 to 1993. The latter ceased to exist in 1993 because no funds appropriated by the State Legislature for fiscal year 1992-1993. In addition, the Commission on Governmental Reorganization issued a report in 1992 which recommended that the Multiple Use Advisory Committee be consolidated with the State Conservation Commission, which would be advisory to the Department of wildlife, Water and Natural Resources.

This series includes minutes of commission meetings; memorandum; a list of committee recommendations from 1987-1992; the report from the Commission on Governmental Reorganization; and reports on the feasibility of acquiring more federal land for Nevada, wildfire management, the Florida/Garfield Flat, Nevada, federal land exchange, Spring Mountain National Recreation Area, Las Vegas Ranger District of the Toiyabe National Forest, and a reclamation clearing house project.

The arrangement of these records follows Kersey's order, placing operational records of the Committee first, followed by various reports.

Box 1

II/1-3 Minutes, October 17, 1986 - April, 1992.

II/4 Topics considered by the State Multiple Use Advisory Committee, 1979-1992.

II/5 Advisory Committee recommendations, 1987-1992.

II/6-7 Memos, 1988; 1990.

Box 2

II/8 Termination of the Multiple Land Use Advisory Committee, 1992.

II/9 List of committee members.

II/10 Nevada legislation related to use of federal lands, 1989.

II/11 Policies related to multiple use of federal lands.

II/12 Report: "Feasibility of Acquiring More Federal Lands to the State of Nevada. Phase II." Susan Lynn, Public Resources Associates, 1988.

II/13 Report: Wildfire Management Executive Summary." Nevada Association of Counties, Natural Resource Report, December 1988.

II/14 Report: "Nevada's Mining Reclamation Program." 1990.

II/15-17 Florida-Nevada [Garfield Flat] Land Exchange environmental report and information, 1987.

II/18 Article: "The Mining of the Backcountry" by Todd Wilkinson, from Backpacker, September 1991.

II/19 Notes on the 1872 mining law.

II/20-22 Spring Mountain National Recreational Area: mineral resource and abandoned mines inventory; citizens' proposal; and questions and answers, 1990-1991.

II/23 Article: "The Water Profiteers," by Peter Steinhart, in Audubon Magazine, March 1990.

II/24 Toiyabe National Forest, Las Vegas Ranger District, issues, 1991.

II/25 Reclamation Information Clearinghouse Program Plan. Draft, September 12, 1989.

II/26 Nevada wilderness briefing, May 31, 1990.

II/27 Miscellaneous.

II/28 Xeroxes of covers of publications transferred to Special Collections stacks or to Government Publications Department, University of Nevada, Reno. Pamphlets from the BLM on Nevada wildlife.


Series III. Citizens for Parks and Trails 2000. 1988-1989. .25 cu. ft.

Kersey and Eric Cronkhite co-chaired this committee which worked to develop a county-wide regional recreation facilities and trails master plan for the Board of County Commissioners. The committee was also charged with helping to determine alternative means for implementing the acquisition, development, and maintenance of a regional plan.

Included in this series are plans, agendas, action plans, financial documentation, Board of Supervisors' resolution adopting the resulting regional plan and approving a bond issue for financing, review and analysis of Question 10 (the bond issue to finance the plan), and a progress report of the Trails Subcommittee of the Beautification Task Force of the Biggest Little City Committee. Although this committee ceased to exist after 1988, there is also information in this series about a Steamboat Ditch Trail workshop, held in 1992.

The arrangement of this series follows that of the donor: administrative records are filed at the beginning of the series, followed by the completed plans and information about the ballot issue.

Box 2

III/1-4 Administrative records: agendas, action plans, financial analysis, 1988.

III/5 Resolution by the County Board of Supervisors authorizing Ballot Question 10, Washoe County Park Tax Question, June 28, 1988.

III/6 Ballot Question 10 campaign material.

III/7 Preliminary Trails and Facilities Plan, Washoe County Department of Comprehensive Planning, April 1988.

III/8 Washoe County. Master Plan. Parks and Recreation Element. Regional Parks and Special Use Facilities. Approved by the Regional Planning Commission of Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County on July 27, 1988. Also includes a draft copy of June, 1988.

III/9 Review and analysis of Question 10 (Parks and Trails 2000 Plan) which was presented to the voters on Nov. 8, 1988. By the Washoe County Parks and Recreation Dept., January 1989.

III/10 Steamboat Ditch Trail workshop, May 15, 1992.

III/11 Progress Report of the Trails Subcommittee of the Beautification Task Force of the Biggest Little City Committee from August 1987 - April 15, 1988.

III/12 Newspaper clippings.


Series IV. Park. 1981-1990. .25 cu. ft.

Virginia Kersey has had a long involvement in the development of Rancho San Rafael Park in northwest Reno. A county/regional park, RSR has been guided by two citizen advisory groups. The first was the original RSR steering committee (of which Kersey was a member) called Citizens for RSR. They worked on the project to make the ranch a park, helped to guide a bond issue to passage (1979) and wrote a master plan (1981). A second steering committee, chaired by Kersey, was appointed in 1989 by the Board of County Commissioners to revise the original master plan and make recommendations for its implementation.

The bulk of this series was generated by the second steering committee. Records from the earlier group, Citizens for RSR, are currently being used by researcher Dr. Elmer Rusco. It is Kersey's intention that they be given to the Special Collections Department at the conclusion of Dr. Rusco's research.

Included here are agendas and minutes of the second steering committee, subcommittee reports, Wilbur D. May Arboretum master plan (1984), proposals for master plan submitted by various planning firms, minutes authorizing formation of the second steering committee, and files on the development of the park. The arrangement follows Kersey's original order.

Box 2

IV/1 Formation of Steering Committee and appointment of Kersey. 1989.

IV/2 Agendas of Steering Committee meetings, 1988-1990.

IV/3-4 Minutes, 1988-1990.

IV/5 Subcommittee reports, including Master Plan Subcommittee, August 1989 - Feb. 7, 1990.

IV/6 Public meetings on master plan, and draft of that plan. 1990.

IV/7 Wilbur D. May Arboretum Master Plan, 1984.

IV/8 Master plan proposals from various firms, 1989.

IV/9 Monuments at RSR.

IV/10 Minutes, Washoe County Parks and Recreation Commission, November 16, 1981. Formation of a non-profit group to draft bylaws of RSR.

IV/11 Plans for the Great Basin Zoological Society "The Barnyard."

IV/12 Development of RSR Park.

IV/13 Newspaper clippings.