Tahoe Donner owns several thousand acres of recreational open space, featuring more than 60 miles of multi-use trails. Accessible to members, guests, and the public, Tahoe Donner’s trails connect hikers, bikers, and equestrian riders to a wide variety of recreational experiences, both within and beyond Tahoe Donner’s boundaries.
The Trails and Open Space Subcommittee (TOS) is updating Tahoe Donner’s original Trails Master Plan, which was completed and approved in 2013 and recommended updates every five years. The Trails Master Plan provides guidance on a range of matters, including trail design, construction and sustainability, project planning and prioritization, trail rules and policies, as well as management and maintenance concerns. Additionally, while evaluating possible new trails projects, the subcommittee is also attending to several project proposals that were recommended in the 2013 Trails Master Plan but have not yet been completed.
As first developed by Dart Industries, Tahoe Donner lacked any open space other than the greenbelts and recreational common areas within its original boundaries. An early promotional map shows only a single foot trail within this area: The Nature Trail, which still exists today. Other sources indicate that there was once a small loop trail behind the Northwoods Clubhouse, which at one point included a par course. This loop trail and the par course are today defunct.
In its early days, Tahoe Donner also had access to approximately 15 miles of logging roads and skid trails, that were used by equestrians in what is today called the 2000 Acres. Dart Industries had purchased the 2000 Acres from the Fibreboard Corporation in 1971. Following a lawsuit in the early 1980s, ownership of the 2000 Acres, along with the 40 Acres to the west, and the 32 Acres which is now the Donner Crest neighborhood were transferred to Tahoe Donner.
Through the following transactions, Tahoe Donner's recreational open space has expanded by more than 1700 additional acres:
- 2002: Tahoe Donner purchased 240 acres in Euer Valley. The deal included 40 acres in trade, for a net gain of 200 acres.
- 2004: Tahoe Donner sold the 32 Acres.
- 2010: With the Truckee Donner Land Trust and the Town of Truckee, Tahoe Donner jointly purchased the 240-acre Bucknam Tract above Donner Lake.
- 2011: Tahoe Donner purchased the 160-acre McGlashan Springs parcel above Donner Lake.
- 2012: Tahoe Donner purchased the 20-acre S&R Snow Removal property at the end of Teton Way to house the Association’s Forestry Department.
- 2012: Tahoe Donner purchased 482 acres of the Euer family’s remaining 522 acres, leaving the Euers with a 40-acre inholding.
- 2016: Tahoe Donner purchased the 640-acre Crabtree Canyon to the north of Euer Valley from the Truckee Donner Land Trust and their partners.
Doug Smith, Tahoe Donner’s first forester from 1989 to 1993, created the basis for the Association’s current trail system. According to the 1994 Tahoe Donner trail map, approximately 16 miles of multi-use trails existed within the Association. Today that trail system has expanded to over 60 miles, is managed and maintained to a high standard by its own Trails Department and has evolved into a key component of Tahoe Donner’s recreational identity.
The 2013 Trails Master Plan recommended that the plan be updated every five years. Particularly in light of these changes and developments, that update is certainly warranted.
The TOS is researching updates to the Trails Master Plan. The subcommittee’s conclusions will be compiled into a report that will inform a Request For Proposal from qualified outside consultants, who will then work with the subcommittee to complete the master plan update process. The subcommittee is also evaluating the remaining projects in the Tahoe Donner Trails 5-Year Implementation Plan (5YIP). A planning document approved by Nevada County in 2016, the 5YIP details 22 projects prioritized in the 2013 Trails Master Plan. While continuing to work on those 5YIP projects that remain a priority for the Association, the TOS is also studying whether changing needs and conditions may recommend prioritizing new projects not anticipated in the 5YIP. Finally, the TOS has worked on possible trail rule changes that the Association may wish to consider.
Tahoe Donner’s 2013 Trails Master plan was the culmination of a year and a half process to gather member knowledge and opinion, and then draft, validate, and approve a final master plan with the help of professional consultants. The plan provides guidance on a range of matters, including trail design, construction and sustainability, project planning and prioritization, trail rules and policies, as well as management and maintenance concerns.
In the years since the 2013 Trails Master Plan’s adoption, we have much to celebrate:
- We have established more sustainable standards for trail design and development.
- We have created a new Trails Department headed by an expert Trails Manager.
- Guided by the master plan’s priorities, we have made progress on an implementation plan that balances our need to maintain the existing trail system with our desire to expand that trail system.
- We have expanded our open space by more than 1700 acres.
Over those same years, we have seen a number of regional changes that affect and involve Tahoe Donner:
- The Truckee Donner Land Trust has either purchased or entered into contract to purchase thousands of acres adjacent or proximate to Tahoe Donner. These properties, which include Lower Carpenter Valley, Carpenter Ridge, Red Mountain, and Frog Lake, will eventually be opened for recreational use.
- Tahoe Donner signed land use agreements with the Truckee Donner Land Trust to continue the Donner Lake Rim Trail through Association property, and to construct a parking lot, a trailhead, trails, and a bridge in Tahoe Donner's Crabtree Canyon property.
- The Town of Truckee updated their Trails and Bikeways Master Plan in 2015.
- Trail usage patterns and preferences among Tahoe Donner members continue to evolve.
- New developments, like ebikes, have emerged.
The 2013 Trails Master Plan recommended that the plan be updated every five years. Particularly in light of these changes and developments, the original plan is now overdue for the update that the TOS is undertaking. In updating the plan, the TOS is especially focused on evolving management needs, resilience and sustainability and multi-use trails, funding and public access, connectivity to adjacent trail systems, improving Tahoe Donner’s walkability rating, and strengthening Tahoe Donner’s trails stewardship community.
Documents and Maps
- January 24, 2019 Meeting Minutes
- January 3, 2019 Meeting Minutes
- November 29, 2018 Meeting Minutes
- October 25, 2018 Meeting Minutes
- September 27, 2018 Meeting Minutes
- August 23, 2018 Meeting Minutes
- July 26, 2018 Meeting Minutes
- June 28, 2018 Meeting Minutes
- June 7, 2018 Meeting Minutes
Project Proposal Archive
Meetings + Members
Subcommittee regular meetings are held on the 4th Thursday of the month in the Mezzanine Room of the Northwoods Clubhouse.
- Benjamin Levine (TOS Co-Chair)
- Annie Rosenfeld (TOS Co-Chair, Director of Risk Management and Real Property )
- VJ Bonnard
- Richard Bothwell
- Dave Cohen
- Gayle Dana
- Kathy Englar
- Robb Etnyre (General Manager)
- Brenda Gilbert
- Jayne Hahin
- Forrest Huisman (Director of Capital Projects)
- Jennifer Jennings (BOD)
- Guy Joaquin
- Paco Lindsay
- Carole Mahoney
- Nan Meek (GPC Co-Chair)
- Steve Miller (GPC)
- Scot Nicol
- Bill Phelps
- Marina Phillips
- Lynette Powell
- Livia Quan
- Charlene Simmons
- Michael Sullivan (GPC Chair)
- Susan Terrell
- Christina Thayer (Trails Manager)
- Julie Thornton
- Brian Yohn (Assistant Director of Risk Management and Real Property)
- Janet Zipkin
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