Land Trust receives grant, new board members |

Land Trust receives grant, new board members

The Arthur B. Schultz Foundation in Incline Village recently awarded to Truckee-Donner Land Trust a grant totalling $27,250 which will support reaching closure on the nearly 2,500-acre Donner Lake-area acquisition along Schallenberger Ridge and in Emigrant Canyon. Most of the land is owned by Croman Lumber Company of Oregon.

The acquisition will expand Donner Memorial State Park from the east shore of Donner Lake to Donner Summit and will preserve original sections of the Emigrant Trail. Grant monies will be used for appraisals, archaeological reviews for the Donner Lake Rim Trail, and staff time required for completing the acquisitions and working with the Trust For Public Land and California State Parks.

The Arthur B. Schultz Foundation supports organizations and initiatives promoting environmental protection, research and natural resource conservation.

“We believe in a simple principle,” says Erik Schultz, Foundation Director. “Focus on protecting our remaining natural healthy ecosystems and open spaces through whatever means available, primarily through supporting conservation initiatives and environmental research and education.”

The Arthur B. Schultz Foundation also supports research seeking a cure for spinal cord injury, as well as initiatives promoting greater access and recreational opportunities for the disabled.

Within weeks of receiving the grant for land acquisition, the Truckee-Donner Land Trust announced the retirement of long-time board member Bob Breckenfeld and the election of two new board members: 25-year Truckee resident Kathleen Ritchie and Truckee native Matt Rusanoff.

Breckenfeld, a seven-year Truckee-Donner Land Trust board member, who helped add 131 acres to Donner Memorial State Park, announced his retirement from the board shortly after the Shultz Foundation grant was awarded.

Breckenfeld held positions as treasurer and secretary for the board during his tenure and served on several committees. He and his wife Pat have lived in Tahoe Donner year-round for the past 10 years and are now splitting their time between the mountains and the sunny climes of Davis, Calif.

The Breckenfelds are active donors to the land trust and will continue to volunteer for the organization in various capacities.

“Bob certainly set a standard for all board members to follow,” Truckee-Donner Land Trust Executive Director Dan Wendin said. “His commitment to our mission has helped the land trust become a viable organization in this region.”

At the same time the Truckee-Donner Land Trust announced Breckenfeld’s retirement from the board, the trust announced Ritchie and Rusanoff’s election to the board.

“My goal as a board member is to really promote the visibility of the land trust, and support fundraising activities,” said Ritchie.

Her experience in open space issues began during her tenure on the Tahoe Donner Association’s Board of Directors. The Tahoe Donner Association’s board was instrumental in securing significant acreage adjacent to the subdivision in order to network hiking and biking trails and have permanent open space.

Ritchie and husband, Dr. Kenneth Ritchie, own and operate Tahoe-Sierra Eye and Optical with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City. She is the office manager and manages the optical division.

Her hobbies are hiking, biking, skiing, tennis and gardening. She is currently involved in the Truckee Rotary and is a member of the Lake of the Sky Garden Club.

The land trust board also welcomed Truckee native, Matt Rusanoff to the board of directors. Rusanoff will serve as the board’s new secretary and be able to continue his own life-long passion and concern for the natural integrity of the Truckee area. Rusanoff graduated from Tahoe-Truckee High School and received a degree in architecture from Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo.

“I’m excited to contribute my efforts to the land trust by getting involved in projects and educating the community about what the land trust can do,” says Rusanoff.

He is currently an intern architect for Alpen Environs, an architectural firm in Truckee, and divides the rest of his time between the outdoors and as a member of the Truckee Rotary, the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team and the Historic Preservation Advisory Commission for the Town of Truckee.

In September, the Truckee-Donner Land Trust will celebrate its 10-year anniversary pursuing its mission of preserving and protecting scenic, recreational and historic lands in the Truckee and North Tahoe area.

Current projects include the 2,500-acre acquisition of lands along Donner Lake’s Schallenberger Ridge and in Emigrant Canyon and planning, building and maintaining the 22-mile Donner Lake Rim Trail.

For more information on projects or how to become a member or volunteer for the land trust, call the office at (530) 582-4711 or email at

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