Conservation groups outline their Donner Summt planning goals |

Conservation groups outline their Donner Summt planning goals

Nine Sierra environmental and conservation organizations presented Placer and Nevada County officials with a set of principles to guide future development decisions on Donner Summit.

The controversial Royal Gorge development’s draft plan for a cross country ski and housing destination on the Summit will soon be submitted to Placer County. On Wednesday, Sierra Watch; South Yuba River Citizens League; Tahoe Group, Sierra Club; North Fork American River Alliance; Snowlands Network; Sierra Foothills Audubon Society; California Native Plant Society; Sierra Nevada Alliance; and Forest Issues Group signed a letter urging both Placer and Nevada counties to consider that key aspects of the Summit’s environment and character be conserved.

“The planning principles are designed to ensure a better blueprint for Donner Summit, one that puts responsible development where it belongs and permanently protects the region’s landscape for generations to come,”

said Tom Mooers, executive director of Nevada City-based Sierra Watch, in a


Sierra Watch was a key player in the conservation efforts that came out of lawsuits against proposed development in the Martis Valley outside of Truckee.

Plans for the 9,000-acre Royal Gorge cross country ski area include development of 950 residential units on 400 acres as well as other amenities. Other contentious issues are water supply and wastewater treatment.

The planning principles provided by the conservation groups are:

Donner Summit Planning Principles

A. Donner Summit Values and Resources

1. Natural Heritage: Recognize the importance of Donner Summit to the

broader Central Sierra and downstream ecosystems.

2. Biological Resources: Protect the wide array of habitat and the

incredible range of biodiversity on Donner Summit.

3. Wetlands and Meadows: Protect the wetlands and meadows of Donner


4. Forests: Expand permanent protection of Donner Summit forest


5. Water Resources: Improve and maintain the water quality of Donner

Summit’s lakes, creeks, and rivers.

6. Cultural Importance: Preserve the history and scenery of Donner

Summit as the portal to California and as the region’s primary

recreational and economic resource.

7. Challenging Climate: Recognize the challenging climate on Donner

Summit and the impact of climate change on the region’s landscape

and resources.

B. Donner Summit Development Issues

1. Existing Development: Protect the values of the existing Donner

Summit communities.

2. Water Supply: Size Donner development to existing water sources and

projected impacts of climate change.

3. Wastewater Treatment: Protect Donner Summit water quality from

increased sewage outflows and polluted stormwater runoff.

4. Transportation and Roads: Prevent additional traffic from clogging

regional roadways and diminishing the quality of the Donner Summit


5. Fire Safety: Prevent leapfrog development and ensure fire-safe


6. Commitment to Conservation: Expand permanent protection of Donner

Summit resources.

7. Community Planning: Collaborate with regional jurisdictions and local

residents to create a community vision for Donner Summit and update

General Plans accordingly

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