The want " or need " for a new museum |

The want " or need " for a new museum

With $6 million hanging in the balance, it’s time for the California State Park Department and those opposed to the High Sierra Crossing Museum to come to a compromise.

Parks staff are currently trying to figure out how to re-think a proposed 10,000-square-foot lakefront museum at Donner Memorial State Park after overwhelming opposition to the plan from residents around Truckee.

Does the new building have to be near the lake? Is a second access road to the park really needed? Are there so many visitors to the current museum that a new edifice needs to be constructed? Why can’t the current museum be expanded?

These questions and more have been floating around for months now without parks officials clearing the air once and for all.

The fact that the Parks Department has $6 million in its pocket shouldn’t be the driving force behind the museum proposal. And if it is, they should be as flexible as possible.

As for Donner Lake area residents, a good deal of the east end of the lake is, obviously, a state park ” there for the enjoyment of everybody who lives in California. Some of those people would undoubtedly like to stroll though a modern, educational museum on land that, essentially, we all own.

As lake residents often say, they don’t like all the traffic around the lake. But if parking and congestion are really problems on the northeast shore, then the next issue to attack is that of the Tahoe Donner Marina.

Meanwhile, we recognize that the current museum exhibits are old, but does that require an entirely new building be built? Late last year, a parks staffer said the existing building is too small to “house the kind of exhibits we want and the visitation we get.”

Perhaps it’s time for people on both sides of the issue to examine the difference between want and need.

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