State Park should rethink Donner museum details | SierraSun.com

State Park should rethink Donner museum details

Jack and Emilie Kashtan
My Turn

We have lived on Donner Pass Road near Donner Lake and the Donner Memorial State Park for 15 years, and have been very active in the town and Donner community. After reviewing the proposed High Sierra Crossing Museum project, specifically the issue of installing another access road/driveway for ingress/egress to the state park facilities, we have significant concerns from a variety of areas.-

Parking ” with the town’s proposed bike and trail program and the existing segment of the bike path crossing in front of the state park, parking for visitors to the lake has been restricted and reduced, with more expected reduction when the entire bike path is implemented.-

Additionally, with the bike path restricting lake visitor parking (non-park users), it also will encourage the use of residents driveways for public parking. The Tahoe Donner marina neighbors will also be restricted from using their facility to accommodate your extra and unneeded entrance. This precious space is needed for parking rather than another drive way.

Safety ” The increased bicyclists coupled with increased tourists entering and leaving the state park doubles the exposure to accidents and liability.- You are noticed that this is an increased problem. My 18-year-old niece was riding her bike and swerved to avoid an in-turning-driver. She fell off the bike and sustained a sprained ankle. Without asking her, park attendants called an ambulance, which whisked her off to Tahoe Forest Hospital. While I was at home three minutes away and she was oriented and responsive, I was not called, which was unfortunate, since I am a registered nurse and my husband is a doctor. The state park did not get billed for this accident occurring on state property, done by someone improperly turning into a bicyclist on the bike trail, nor did the park service offer to pay for the horrible cost-shifting bill that this young college student was sent by the ambulance company and hospital. Needless to say, the tourist renting the camp site was history.

Traffic impact ” In 15 years, I have never been in any line of cars waiting to turn into the park, at any time. If there has been any wait, it has been limited.-

Environmental impact ” With twice the cars turning in and out, the noise and air pollution can also be expected to double, for visitors and residents. The noise is currently so bad that we can’t sit on our deck and hear our self talk. What neighborhood in Truckee deals with this continuous noise? Additionally, there was absolutely no presence of the state park in the battle for clean drinking water on Donner Lake, but I bet they and their paying customers benefited from the battle residents had to fight.-

I noticed that there was also no park service presence on the town subcommittee addressing Jet Skis and two-cycle motors polluting the lake waters (I was on that committee), but the state park actively took a role in having a rental concession that issued Jet Skis placed near the lake outtake, the exact spot where our only resident beaver use to live with other wild friends.-

Well, the beaver was driven out and sent down to a lake culvert, where it is believed that the park and recreation people “dealt with him.” He has not been seen since.-

When asked to help with the drainage coming from Interstate 80 and draining pollutant into Donner Lake, the response was, “This doesn’t involve us.”

Well, it does, and so does the impact the state park is imposing on our neighborhood. In the bigger picture, I certainly have not been encouraged to contribute to a California State Park as a direct result of the direct contact I have had in the aforementioned issues and lack of caring that this State Park has had for its immediate community and neighbors.-

This is a bad plan for neighbors, and the State Park might be well advised to consider this needless entrance, as it may produce more bad will for little gain in this neighborhood than it might like to have.-

Jack and Emilie Kashtan are Truckee residents.–