Putting the pinch on local business
It is no secret that Truckee and the local economy depends heavily on tourist traffic generated during the peak seasons in summer and winter. That’s why it is a bad idea to close Donner Memorial State Park before the tourists go home.
As it is, many of Truckee’s businesses, especially in the aftermath of Sept. 11 and the national tourism decline, have struggled. Last week the Sierra Sun profiled several businesses that had to call it quits downtown because of costs versus revenue. This trend is likely to continue unless businesses here get a shot in the arm through increased tourism traffic, traffic that may be slightly decreased at the end of August due to this decision.
Donner Memorial State Park, and its camp sites, is one of the few venues for campers in the Truckee area that provides a direct, obvious benefit to our local business community. The campers stay in the park, often for long periods, and are forced to use our restaurants, and choose to shop in our stores because of the park’s proximity to downtown (and Donner Lake).
There are 154 campsites at the park, and during the peak season, in the summer, they are often filled. This is outside money coming into Truckee, our bread and butter.
Considering the potential economic consequences of the decision to close the park Aug. 10, even if it is not as dire as the nearly half million dollars projected by Truckee Donner chamber CEO Lynn Saunders, we think it is incumbent upon California state parks to reconsider its decision, and postpone the construction until later in the season.
We know the reality of Truckee winters and the short construction season here. Still, money lost is money lost, and now is not the time to put more of a pinch on local businesses.