Mustang Ranch Rides Again

A federal agency is thinking about reopening the Mustang Ranch, not as the notorious brothel it was for years, but as a tourist attraction and research center for wild horses.

The property was forfeited to the federal government this summer after guilty verdicts against the brothel's parent companies and manager in a federal fraud and racketeering trial. The women who worked there were evicted and the brothel was padlocked.

Now the Bureau of Land Management is exploring a plan to convert the main pink stucco ranch building into an interpretive center for its Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center, which has outgrown its Palomino Valley facility 15 miles northeast of Reno.

"It's an idea that's easy to make jokes about, but it's one that also makes sense," said John Singlaub, manager of the BLM's Carson district office.

The bureau is charged with managing the West's estimated 44,000 wild horses, about half of which are located in Nevada. It captures some of the animals and puts them up for adoption to ease overpopulation.

The interpretive center could include historical exhibits, a wild horse research center and an equestrian center, said Bob Abbey, BLM director in Nevada.

The brothel is located along the Truckee River just south of Interstate 80.

Prostitution is legal in 12 of Nevada's 17 counties, including Storey County where the Mustang Ranch opened 32 years ago.