Former brothel site now giving pleasure to conservationists
Former home of the famous Mustang Ranch brothel is now being returned to its natural state ... and the ladies of the brothel don't have to worry about floodwaters rising at inopportune times.
Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 06:27 PM
STRICTLY BUSINESS: Owner Lance Gilman and Madam Susan Austin at the Mustang Ranch's new location. (Photo: ZUMA Press)
What’s good for the environment, sanity, and health, but bad for the IRS and housewives?
A famous Nevada brothel.
The New York Times is reporting that the onetime home of the famous Mustang Ranch brothel could become a conservationists’ oasis. The original home of the Mustang Ranch is being filled in with crushed rocks to force the Truckee River into the more natural route it once traveled.
If you’re worried about the famous brothel being closed down, don’t be. It found a new home a few miles downriver back in 2006 after the IRS shut it down for the second time in its nearly 40-year history. Though not necessarily because many people have begun greening their sex lives, conservationists and the Nature Conservancy are still tickled pink that the brothel had occupied the land for so long … and has now moved.
“We joke that in Nevada, we only work on properties near brothels … They like their privacy — they stay concentrated instead of developing out so they can keep an eye on things. It works for us,” said Mickey Hazelwood, project director for the Nature Conservancy.
What he’s basically saying is that you don’t usually see a lot of development around a brothel. So when it came time for the Mustang Ranch to relocate, it was easier to begin reestablishing the native flora and fauna. In true Nevada fashion, the relocation of the brothel makes everyone a winner.
As the city of Reno expanded in population in the 1950’s, the Army Corps of Engineers straightened and widened the river in an attempt to control flooding. Unfortunately what also happened was the river deepened its own channel and the water table dropped off around its banks.
That created quite a daunting — ahem, wet and wild — situation for the brothel.
The New York Times article says, “Susan Austin, who runs the ranch nowadays at the new site, was a ‘working girl’ back then and recalls that women would sometimes have to be rescued in the buckets of front-loader trucks when the river rose suddenly.” Hey, maybe the river just didn’t like that it had been diverted from its natural course.
Nevertheless, here we are, about to enter 2010, and the famed Mustang Ranch is still open for business and out of harms way. The Truckee River is slowly shifting back into its natural banks, and tree huggers everywhere are happy for it.
The $20 million effort to redirect — or rather, undirect — the river is paying off. Wildlife such as bald eagles are returning to the area, and young cottonwoods and other native plants and grasses are springing up as well.