Scenic Schallenberger Ridge (CA) Saved

TRUCKEE, CA, 9/27/01—The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today the completion of its private purchase of Schallenberger Ridge, a ridgeline highly visible from Truckee and I-80 that forms the scenic backdrop to Donner Lake. Using a low interest loan from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, TPL purchased 750 acres of the 1,923-acre ridgeline in April and today purchased the balance of the property, 1,173 acres, from Croman Timber Corporation, an Oregon logging company. The Trust for Public Land is working in partnership with the Truckee Donner Land Trust to protect the property, valued at $3.1 million, from logging and subdivision. During the next 12 months, TPL and the land trust hope to add nearly 2,500 acres, including the Schallenberger Ridge property, to Donner Memorial State Park.

“The same rugged skyline that greeted the early pioneers to California is now protected forever,” said Mary D. Nichols, California Secretary for Resources. “And, as part of the Donner Memorial State Park it will be cared for and made available for the general public to enjoy.”

John Knott, Superintendent for the Sierra District of California State Parks, says, “Schallenberger Ridge is a major public resource. The property has outstanding vistas and natural features and will be an absolutely wonderful addition to the state park system in California.”

Funding for the public purchase of the property will come from the state Habitat Conservation Fund, federal Land and Water Conservation Fund monies, and private funding sources.

“TPL is very pleased to take the steps necessary to make this magnificent and historic property available for permanent public protection. Now we need help to complete the project. TPL and the Truckee Donner Land Trust are seeking donations to close a $1 million funding gap and permanently protect the ridge for wildlife and public recreation,” says David Sutton, Sierra Nevada program director for the Trust for Public Land.

The purchase will expand the public’s recreational opportunities including horse back riding, cross country skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing, sleuthing on the Emigrant Trail (looking for wagon ruts), and observing wildlife.

“Schallenberger Ridge, as much as any Truckee landmark, defines Truckee’s mountain character. It is exciting for the town of Truckee to see this critical acquisition happen,” says Truckee Mayor Don McCormack. The 22-mile Donner Lake Rim Trail, a project of the Truckee Donner Land Trust, will traverse Schallenberger Ridge and Emigrant Canyon on its way to the Pacific Crest Trail. The Donner Lake Rim Trail will provide more hiking and biking opportunities in the area. The public purchase of the ridge will extend public lands from Truckee to Donner Summit.

“For residents, part time residents, and anyone who treasures the magnificence of the Sierra, this is an incredible opportunity for us all to rally together and preserve a part of what makes Truckee so special. We need to raise a million dollars in the coming months. That is not a small sum, but the good news is that its for a cause that anyone who cares for our corner of the Sierra seems eager to support,” says Perry Norris, executive director of the Truckee Donner Land Trust.

The Schallenberger Ridge property, which is adjacent to the Sugarbowl Ski Resort, is steeped in California history and pioneer lore. The historic Emigrant Trail, used by thousands of California-bound pioneers, passes through the property. The ridgeline is named for Moses Schallenberger, who was a member of the first pioneer party to take wagons over the Sierra Nevada, opening the California Trail. In 1844 the 18 year-old Schallenberger volunteered to remain behind at what is now known as Donner Lake to guard wagons left by the main party. Alone, he survived nearly three months in a small cabin during the extreme winter of 1844-1845 before being rescued. Members of the ill-fated Donner Party, who were stranded there in 1846-1847, would later use his cabin.

Founded in 1990, the Truckee Donner Land Trust is the local non-profit grass roots organization preserving and protecting open spaces in the Truckee/North Tahoe region. For further information contact the Truckee Donner Land Trust at 530/582-4711.

TPL is a national land conservation organization dedicated to conserving land for people as parks, greenways, wilderness areas and natural, historic, and cultural resources for future generations. Founded in 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.2 million acres nationwide. For more than 25 years, TPL has worked to protect more than 45,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada. In June, TPL announced a deal with Sierra Pacific Industries to protect an additional 30,000 to 50,000 acres throughout the Sierra. TPL expects to close the first phase of that deal along the North Fork of the American River early next year.