Uplifting rural voices with the Sierra Region Community Network

Image of lake in Silver Springs, Nevada

By RPN Staff

The Sierra Community Network, hosted by Northern Nevada Development Authority (NNDA) consists of two counties, Lyon and Mineral, in the Northwestern Region of Nevada’s high desert. Strong mining communities, both rail and mining played a role in the growth of these communities many years ago. In fact, the first transcontinental railroad, the Central Pacific, ran through Lyon County though the route has since shifted.

Centrally located in Western Nevada, Mineral County sits at 3,933 feet in elevation with Hawthorne as its county seat and is regarded as “America’s Patriotic Home.” The Hawthorne Army Depot is known as the World’s Largest Depot and is a U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command ammunition storage depot that is in Hawthorne, Nevada. It was highly used during World War II and is reserved for times of conflict. Mineral County is also home to Walker Lake, approximately 38,000 acres in size; the most prominent geographical feature in the region, and ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. You can find off-roading, BigHorn crossings, hiking, fishing, camping, and even Ghost Towns in this area.

Lyon County is one of the nine original counties created in Nevada on November 25, 1861. Lyon is where Nevada’s first gold discovery took place in 1849, and gold mining continues today with 343 mines. The counties largest cities are Yerington (county seat) and Silver Springs.  South of Yerington is Lyon County’s largest peak, Bald Mountain, at 9,549 ft. Lyon County is quite dry and usually sunny year-round, making it an ideal place for outdoor recreation. The Lahontan Reservoir in Norther Lyon County is a perfect place for camping, fishing, boating, and horseback riding. A family-friendly community, Lyon County offers plenty of excitement with Dayton Valley Days, where you can find chili cook-off, and Nights in the County event, which is a large country convert that brings folks from all over Nevada.

Although Lyon and Mineral County have strong united communities with so much to offer, they are both faced with many rural challenges, such as outdated and deteriorating infrastructure, access to healthcare and childcare, affordable housing concerns, and broadband accessibility- all which play a role in economic and workforce development. These rural communities lack the funding and building capacity to excel on their own. The Sierra Region Community Network in collaboration with Rural Partners Network hope to accelerate community development and opportunities for these counties by working with local, state, and federal partners to secure funding and the necessary support in identifying and addressing solutions to strengthen this region.

Since Rural Partners Network launched its partnership with the Sierra Community Network, community partners have identified key priority projects for the network to focus their efforts, which include road and building infrastructure, access to housing, childcare, healthcare, and workforce development. For example, Mineral County is working with USDA Rural Development to build a new hospital and a new courthouse.

Working together collaboratively, across strong partnerships and organizations, where rural communities can voice their concerns is the best path forward in uplifting these communities.

Community Development Economic & Business Development