The Land Trust entered into this project in 1995 through negotiations with private property owners of historic and scenic Truckee landmarks: Schallenberger Ridge, Emigrant Canyon, Summit Canyon, Lakeview Canyon and Coldstream Canyon. Since then, in partnership with the Trust for Public Land, the Land Trust has acquired over 2,100 acres adjacent to Donner Memorial State Park, making it one of the largest state parks in the Sierra Nevada.
The 23-mile Donner Lake Rim Trail, a project of the Land Trust, will traverse Schallenberger Ridge and Emigrant Canyon on its way to the Pacific Crest Trail. The expanded park will permanently preserve this natural and recreational wonderland for hikers, equestrians, mountain bikers, cross country and backcountry skiers and snowboarders. These protected lands and riverbanks hold a unique historical value along the Emigrant Trail, provide riparian habitat, large tracts of uninterrupted mammal habitat and diverse coniferous forests.
Donner Summit Canyon
This 260-acre property was acquired by the Land Trust in 2010 and added to Donner Memorial State Park in 2012. It includes deep forests with old-growth trees, open granitic landscapes, and a meadow framed with views of Donner Peak and Blackwall. The acquisition also protects a large length of Summit Creek, the largest tributary to Donner Lake. Hikers and Mountain bikers can enjoy the scenic trail that traverses the property and includes portions of the historic Dutch Flat-Donner Lake Wagon Road. The Kathy Polucha-Kessler Memorial Picnic area offers a spectacular view of Donner Lake. The grandeur of the property is just as exciting as its sense of history. The landscape contains the confluence of Billy Mack Canyon Creek and Summit Creek, a beaver pond, aspen groves, large granite outcroppings and dramatic views of the Sierra Crest.
This prominent ridge is named after 18-year old Moses Schallenberger who spent the infamous Donner Party winter of 1845-1846 alone beneath the ridge to guard wagons left behind. The ridge not only provides a stunning backdrop to Donner Lake, it will soon contain a significant piece of the 23-mile Donner Lake Rim Trail. Schallenberger Ridge was acquired by the Land Trust in 2002 and is now a part of Donner Memorial State Park. When combined with the Lakeview Canyon and Coldstream Valley acquisitions, the Land Trust will have added over 2,200 acres to the state park.
Historic Schallenberger Ridge flanks Donner Lake. Photo by Susan