Schallenberger Ridge Added to State Park (CA)

TRUCKEE, CA, 4/21/2003-The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and Truckee Donner Land Trust (TDLT) announced today the addition of Schallenberger Ridge to Donner Memorial State Park. The addition of the 1,923-acre Ridge will triple the size of the state park and provide a magnificent keystone to the new 25-mile Donner Lake Rim Trail, which will connect Truckee and Emigrant Canyon to the Pacific Coast Trail.

The protection of Schallenberger Ridge – a ridgeline highly visible from Truckee and I-80 that forms the scenic backdrop to Donner Lake – is the result of a partnership between TPL, Truckee Donner Land Trust, and California State Parks. The California Department of Fish and Game, Placer County and the philanthropic community also made key contributions.

“TPL is pleased to have played a part in the protection of Schallenberger Ridge – a spectacular and historic California treasure,” says David Sutton, Sierra Nevada program director for the Trust for Public Land. “Schallenberger Ridge is a gift back to the Sierra and to the public that loves it.”

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

“In the rapidly growing Truckee area, the protection of these wild lands literally at Truckee’s doorstep is a significant step towards protecting what residents and visitors cherish about the area,” says Perry Norris, executive director of the Truckee Donner Land Trust.

“Protecting Schallenberger Ridge is a fitting finale to TPL’s thirtieth year of conserving land for people, both here in California and across the nation,” says Reed Holderman, Executive Director of TPL-California. “From the city of Truckee to Sugarbowl Ski Resort, the Donner Pass community wanted the Ridge saved from development and TPL was glad to have the opportunity to be involved.”

“Schallenberger Ridge is so scenic and so integral to Donner Memorial State Park and adjoining US Forest Service properties that most outdoor enthusiasts assumed it was already in public ownership.” says John Knott, Superintendent for the Sierra District of California State Parks. “It was vital that this property be protected now. This will be part of our legacy to future generations.”


The Schallenberger Ridge property, which is adjacent to Donner Lake and 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. The final remnants of the Donner Party were found in April, 1847.

Using a low interest loan from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, TPL purchased the 1,923-acre ridgeline in 2001 from Croman Timber Corporation, an Oregon logging company. TPL has worked in partnership with the Truckee Donner Land Trust to protect the property, valued at $3.1 million, from logging and subdivision. The acquisition was funded through the Habitat Conservation Fund and state Land and Water Conservation Fund, CDFG mitigation funds, Placer County Placer Legacy funds, as well as through private donations from generous individuals across the state and the local community, including many Sugarbowl homeowners.

Saving Schallenberger Ridge will also protect an important Sierra crest to Truckee River habitat and wildlife corridor. Truckee Donner Land Trust expects six more properties in the region – totaling 341 acres – to be added to the park in the coming years.

Schallenberger Ridge 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.

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.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL’s has helped protect more than 1.6 million acres of land in 45 states and worked to protect more than 45,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission.