Walti Hot Springs (Gund Ranch)

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Eureka County

I had to go to the newspaper archives to find history on this site. Walti Hot Springs and the Gund Ranch sit near McClusky Creek. McClusky Peak is also the direct view from this ranch. On December 10, 1887, the Eureka Weekly Standard reported that E.D. Walti and John Pattock bought the McClusky Ranch. The purchase included a house, stable and corrals. There were a few more small write-ups in the local papers about Walti and the ranch. In July of 1893, Walti purchased 300 head of cattle from Isaac McMonigal in the Monitor Valley. In July of 1901, Walti and the Spencer Brothers sold 200 unbroken horses to a Chicago horse buyer named Mr. Peacock. Half of the herd was being driven to Beowawe for shipment back to the east coast. In 1905, Frits Walti of Cortez began selling agricultural land in the area. He sold 268 acres and 250 head of cattle to a man named William Steiner. He also sold 500 acres and all branded stock of what was known as the Pennsylvania Ranch to E.D. Walti. In 1906, the Eureka Sentinel reported on Frits Walti's involvement at the mining camp of Keystone, due east of the Walti Ranch, on the eastern side of the Simpson Park Mountains. A 1913 article in the Eureka Sentinel reported that E.D. Walti was the owner of the Kingston Mine. It also stated that Salt Lake interests were leasing the mine and expanding the operation. A very interesting article appeared in several Nevada newspapers in 1914. E.D. Walti gave an interview and provided the following details. In 1899, a man named Captain Gordon from Austin brought two young alligators back to Nevada from Louisiana. He turned them into an exhibit at the Bank of Austin. One alligator died. The second was given to Walti to take to the Hot Springs Ranch. Walti released the alligator on the ranch and claimed that he never saw the alligator again for 14 years. He then found the 5-to-6 foot alligator dead in one of his meadows. The alligator allegedly lived for 14 winters in that cold environment! The next several years show that the Walti name was active in establishing a school board and attempting to establish an election precinct in Grass Valley. At some point after this, the ranch was purchased by the Gund's. In 1973, George Gund of Elko donated the ranch to the University of Nevada Reno. The purpose of the donation was to have the UNR agricultural college study and research different elements and effects of ranching. It was renamed the Gund Research and Demonstration Ranch. Although it was stated at the time that UNR wanted to sell the ranch and use the money to buy another ranch that wasn't so isolated, the UNR website still cites their possession of the ranch today. Their website today states that they are conducting research on issues such as livestock grazing, alternative fuels, animal health and rangeland restoration. A 1917 survey map found on the BLM website shows the Walti Ranch at this location. It also shows a second Walti home in a canyon about two miles north/northeast of the ranch. That second Walti house was located at a very clear mining operation.

Post Office: There have been a few short-lived post offices in the Grass Valley, to include one located at Hiller 4 miles south of the Walti Ranch. I don't believe that there was ever a post office located on the Walti Ranch.

Last Trip/ Road Conditions: The Grass Valley Road is 103 miles long from I-80 to Highway 50. I have been across this route several times. The most recent was in June of 2022. Walti Hot Springs/Gund Ranch is located towards the center of this 103- mile stretch. The dirt road through here is wide and well-maintained. This area does get very cold and snowy in the winter months. Any good dirt road in the middle of nowhere Nevada can change during those months. Travel accordingly during all seasons.