NEVADA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION

Mary Gray Ranch

The Leslie and Mary Gray Ranch is the latest addition to the Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station. The ranch consists of eight and a half acres of what was once a 22-acre parcel originally owned by early-day sheriff, Charlie “Two Guns” Ferrel. The Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station will be using the property for instruction and research as a working ranch.

Les Gray graduated from the university in 1937 with a degree in English Literature. An advocate for social issues, Gray eventually turned his attention to water rights’ issues—a major concern in northern Nevada. As chief counsel for the Washoe County Conservation District, he spent much of the 60s and 70s litigating water rights cases.

Gray was honored as a Distinguished Nevadan in 1982. In his Sparks Tribune column following Gray’s death, writer Andrew Barbano praised his “exemplary lifetime of good work.”

Gray had always hoped that someday his beloved ranch—which he had owned since the early 1940s—would play a part in the University’s future educational mission.

“Les tried to preserve the ranch, to keep it in early agriculture,” says historian Jim Hulse.

A sprawling ranch-style house on the property has the company of a few sheep and goats and a neighbor’s llamas that graze along the property’s gentle slopes. Soon, however, a flock of Experiment Station sheep will begin to populate the property as part of the Experiment Station’s ongoing research mission.

“Les always told me to keep the space open if I could,” says Les’ widow Mary . “As a teaching ranch, it will be.”