Nevada, home to some of the nation’s most impressive mountain views, a vast desert and crystal blue lakes, will soon boast two new state parks.

The parks are part of a new initiative called Explore Your Nevada, announced by Gov. Brian Sandoval during his State of the State address one week ago. They will become the first new addition to the state park system in Nevada since 1996.

The first of the new parks, Walker River State Recreation Area, combines three historic ranch properties located along the East Walker River in Lyon County.

Having been purchased by the non-profit Walker Basin Restoration Program and donated to the state, 12,000 acres of privately owned land and 24 miles of the Walker River will now be accessible to the public for the first time.

Valued at over $8 million, the new state recreation area will offer camping, fishing, hiking and cabins for rent.

The second state park will use 315 acres of land near the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument to become the Tule Springs State Park.

“We can develop Tule Springs State Park into a special destination for all ages to learn about Nevada’s unique prehistoric habitat,” Sandoval said.

The park will also serve to protect the abundant paleontological treasures located at the site.

The initiative also includes upgrades to existing state parks. New high-priority elements and amenities include full hook-up campsites, Wi-Fi enabled campgrounds and enhanced staffing.

These additions were all highly requested and are part of an effort to make Nevada a leader in a competitive state park system across the country.

Along with the $15 million rise in the budget for the state parks system, Sandoval also included funding to protect against invasive aquatic species in Lake Tahoe, reduce wildfire risk and improve storm water drainage in his budget.

“I don’t have to remind anyone about the duty we have to protect this awesome natural treasure and its world-famous clarity,” Sandoval said about Lake Tahoe.

Sandoval said during his State of the State address that after achieving his personal goal of visiting every state park in Nevada, he knew how important it was to preserve and share its beauty.

“I discovered pristine mountains, lakes and trails that moved me to share what I saw with the world,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval said he hopes that the new initiative will help to enhance outdoor experiences in Nevada.

Emily Fisher can be reached at and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.