Community Profile

Douglas County Snapshot

On Nevada’s western border, framed by the Carson Range of the Sierra Nevada and Pinenut Mountains, Douglas County unfolds. Broad and green, nourished by the Carson River and its tributaries, Douglas County appeared as an oasis for early western settlers drawn by the California Gold Rush of the 1840’s. Centrally located just 15 minutes south of Nevada’s state capital and bordering the trulyone-of-a-kind Lake Tahoe with all its summer and winter activities, Douglas County is recognized as the gem of Northern Nevada - a hidden jewel. Here you can still find miles of open space, expansive ranches and farms, many historical sites and displays, along with a wealth of outdoor recreation activities. Douglas County is a diverse community which includes the three unincorporated towns of Minden, Gardnerville, and Genoa; each governed by their own separate elected advisory boards. Minden, the County seat, has a population of almost 3,000 people. With over 8,000 in population, the Minden/Gardnerville town core is reminiscent of Rockwell’s Americana.

The major employers are in the fields of gaming and tourism, research and manufacturing, government, and services; including General Electric Energy, a Starbucks roasting facility, North Sails, and Harrah’s and Harvey’s Casinos up at Lake Tahoe. Douglas County offers the facilities and amenities of a metropolitan area, yet remains pleasantly rural with easy access to all services. Douglas County is the fourth most populated county in Nevada with approximately 48,000 residents and seasonal populations that can exceed 65,000 due to its proximity to Reno, Carson City (state capital) and northern California.

Douglas County has a strong commitment to quality of life and environmental issues, and its location within the state and being home to a portion of Lake Tahoe, provides high visibility for business and tourism. The area provides an excellent environment for cultural, recreational, and outdoor activities, including, skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, horseback riding, cycling, mountain biking, hiking, off highway vehicle recreation, camping, and other similar outdoor activities, as well as breathtaking scenic wonders such as Lake Tahoe. Douglas County covers an approximate area of 751 square miles and has elevations ranging from a low of 4,625 feet on the valley floor to a high of 9,500 feet at East Peak. The proximity of the County to the Sierra Nevada Mountains creates one of the most comfortable daily temperature ranges in the continental United States. Generally, the climate is arid, with warm summers, moderate winters, and cool evening temperatures year-round.

Predominant Fields

The major employers are in the fields of gaming and tourism, research and manufacturing, and government and services. Douglas County offers the facilities and amenities of a metropolitan area, yet remains pleasantly rural with easy access to all services. Additionally, the County has one of the best school districts in the state with scores well above the national standard.

Brief History

Douglas County is the site of some of Nevada’s earliest development. Many small communities are scattered along the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, remnants of some of the first towns in the state.


Genoa is the oldest permanent settlement in Nevada and one of the most attractive communities anywhere in the American West. Mormon Station, the original name of the settlement, was established as a trading post in 1851 to serve the wagon trains as a resting and reprovisioning place between the deserts of the Great Basin and the granite barricade of the Sierra Nevada. The town that grew up around the old Mormon stockade was named the seat of Carson County, Utah Territory, in 1854 and of Douglas County, Nevada Territory, in 1861. Mormon Station was Nevada's first town and its first boom town, not because of mining, but because of agriculture.


Gardnerville is the elder of these two siblings towns founded to serve the agricultural population of Carson Valley. The area is one of the earliest-settled, richest, and most productive of the state's agricultural regions. That is why Gardnerville is known as "Nevada's Garden Spot." While Minden is located north of Gardnerville, the two towns have fused together to form one larger community. After the turn of the century, the county seat was moved from Genoa to Minden.

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