Opinion: Come together, right now, over Donner Summit Valley
Much has been made of the controversy that is currently raging on Donner Summit over the future of the Donner Summit Valley. Accusations and claims are flying back and forth. Lines are being drawn and sides taken — Lake vs. Meadow, New Ecology vs. Old Ecology. Rather than polarization, we think it is time for cooperation.
The Donner Summit Valley is a spectacular high Sierra Meadow with a rich natural and human history. The Valley is bordered by alpine forest that surrounds amazingly rich meadow, alpine lake and wetland habitats.
Together these habitats interact in a natural harmony to host a myriad of plant and animal species that create a scenic and bio-diverse wild land in the midst of a robust mountain recreational area. Wildflowers abound and wildlife roams within sight of busy ski resorts and vacation homes.
The history of the Summit Valley is a bit messy, and there are relics of past endeavors that have left the valley with regulatory complications that threaten the natural status quo.
That alpine lake is a little too large and needs to be smaller. The meadow has taken some bumps and needs some work. Not insurmountable obstacles if people are willing to work together to maintain that harmony. Once the posturing and egos are put aside and people work for a common goal, there are very few obstacles that can’t be overcome.
The alpine lake is too large for the state regulations. There is a simple fix that people can make that will make the lake just small enough to bring it into compliance but still large enough to retain its functional habitat and rich biodiversity.
The meadow has been over used and needs some restoration in those over used areas. People who are experts are ready to go to work to right those wrongs. Rights to a small portion of the water in that lake need to be obtained.
The lake has been there for four decades and represents only a miniscule amount of the total water that the Summit Valley contributes to the heart of California.
People are willing to supply the funds to make the case to the State to retain just a small amount of water to preserve the vitality of our local environment. When all of these people come together, the solutions are sure to follow.
The Summit Valley is an exceptional place and we call on everyone to take a lesson from the natural harmony that exists there now. As its present stewards we need to join together to preserve this unique natural resource for future generations so that they too can revel in its beauty and diversity.
George Lamson is a Donner Summit resident and one of the founders of savevannordenlake.org, which is dedicated to preserving, in its current state, Van Norden Lake and its surrounding wetlands situated in the Donner Summit Valley.
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