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Trusts acquire historic Donner Summit property, saving it from development

Monday, August 6, 2012

The so-called Royal Gorge property at historic Donner Summit, which a developer had acquired and planned to build a lodge and hundreds of luxury homes before the project fell into foreclosure, has been acquired by a couple of land trusts and will be preserved as parkland. The Chronicle, which broke the story, quotes the director of Sierra Watch as calling the 7,230-foot-elevation property “the most important conservation acquisition in the Sierra Nevada in a generation.”

The Trust for Public Land and Truckee Donner Land Trust agreed to buy the sprawling, 3,000-acre mountain gateway—with its old-growth red fir forests, mountain meadows, and on which lie the headwaters of three rivers—for $13.5 million, less than half the $30 million the developer paid for it seven years ago.

From the Chronicle piece:

The trusts plan to build trails and remove fences throughout the property, which includes lakes, old-growth red fir forests, headwaters for three major rivers and the 800-acre Van Norden Meadow.

"It's going to be a great day when we take down those 'No Trespassing' signs," said Perry Norris, director of the Truckee Donner Land Trust. "We've been looking forward to this for 20 years."


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