State park campsites to open on time |

State park campsites to open on time

Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra Sun From left, Doug Friburg, Diane Walters, Phil Hock, Wayne Smith, J.D Mooberry (walking in back), Wayne Smith (cap), and Mike Williams gather to inspect the near-complete bathroom renovation at Donner Memorial State Park.

Donner Memorial State Park will open 100 campsites this weekend, but the park’s new restrooms aren’t quite ready for the holiday weekend rush.

After testing 2,000 feet of old pipeline and six manholes at the park this spring, Donner Memorial’s $1.3 million restroom renovation project is almost complete, but none of the six restroom buildings will be complete to serve the Memorial Day weekend rush. Portable restrooms will be used until next week, when park representatives said they expect the newly renovated facilities to be open.

“[The project] is running a little late, but we expect it all to be open by June 18,” said state park aide Jeff Bryant.

The state-mandated tests looked for two potential problems in the park’s clay pipes: sewage leaking out of the pipes or water leaking into the lines.

This week, engineers from the Truckee Sanitary District will conduct a final test on a 100-foot pipeline segment and one manhole, said TSD General Manager Tom Selfridge.

“I don’t see anything here that would indicate from our end that [the park] shouldn’t be able to operate as planned,” Selfridge said.

The restroom renovation project began August 2003, closing the campground earlier than usual. The project was supposed to be complete December 2003, but due to early snowfall contractors had to halt work sooner than anticipated. Work continued this spring, and by mid-June all three of the park’s loops – with 145 campsites – and all six restroom buildings should be open, said state park representatives.

Ray Patton, interim superintendent for California State Parks Sierra District, has grappled with high turnover – in addition to the renovation project – at Donner Memorial in recent months, but he said the park is now ready for the camping season.

“We’re anticipating a busy summer, and we’re ready for it,” Patton said. “Both of our vacant ranger positions have been filled.”

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