Amphitheater, restoration planned for Donner State Park |

Amphitheater, restoration planned for Donner State Park

The century old Pioneer Monument at the east end of Donner Lake may get a makeover along with a 100-person amphitheater.

“We believe that the state parks in this region are unique cultural and natural resources that are worth preserving,” said Heidi Doyle, executive director of the Sierra State Parks Foundation. “It’s a legacy landmark that really talks about our collective spirit.”

A study of the monument done by the state 12 years ago declared that restoring the monument would cost around $2.1 million, Doyle said. When the foundation decided to take on its restoration they had another study done. That showed the monument could be restored for around $600,000.

“With that we were energized to look at the project as a whole and solve the other needs,” said Doyle. These included landscaping the surrounding area and adding park benches next to the monument.

The foundation went even further with plans to build a 100-person amphitheater that can host community events, as well as third grade classes that would study local history each year. In addition to adding character to the site, it will also block noise coming from Interstate 80. Working with a local architectural firm, they designed an amphitheater incorporating elements from the Washoe Tribe.

“We feel it’s very viable and adds to the town of Truckee in terms of extra visitation,” said Weston.

The entire project is expected to cost $1.8 million. The foundation has secured $600,000 from California State Parks from a deferred maintenance budget.

Doyle said they have committed to raising $450,000 from the local community and have already raised $122,000. They have partnered with the Native Sons of the Golden West, which also has raised $100,000 out of their $450,000 goal.

Doyle said they hope to have the entire project done in five years.

In the last 10 years visitation to the state park within town boundaries has doubled, Doyle said. That’s put financial strain on the parks as the state park budget shrinks. “That’s where the Sierra Park Foundation fills in. We provide the funding gaps.”

On Tuesday Doyle went in front of the Truckee Town Council to ask for a letter of support, as well as financial contributions to the project. While the town cannot commit any funds toward the project right now, Mayor David Tirman said it will revisit the issue when reviewing the annual budget.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or

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