Nov. 22, 2017
Dear Sir and/or Ms.
As a homeowner who pays the recreation fee every year, and only uses the “for pay” amenities about a dozen times, I have been able to justify the cost of the recreation fee by saying to myself, “well at least I am paying for trail maintenance.” I use the Tahoe Donner trail system for running, hiking, snowshoeing, and Nordic skiing nearly daily when I at my home on Muhlebach Way.
Over the last year in particular, I have been deeply disappointed by the upkeep and maintenance (not to even mention enhancement) of the trail system. Of particular disappointment is the fact that it has been over a year since the entire Nature Trail has been “open” to the public. In my opinion it is time that the Board make the trails a priority, and take public comment on what needs to be done. Sturdy bridges across creeks and flooded meadows as well as the use of underdrains, turnpikes, and puncheons could make the Nature Trail in particular, a valuable year-round amenity. The Alder Creek Trail is another heavily traveled poorly maintained trail that could use long overdue work. General information on building this type of trail is available from the US Forest Service in their publication, Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook under “Trails In Wet Areas.”
The Tahoe-Donner trail system shouldn’t be looked at as an afterthought, but as one of the amenities that is used and enjoyed by a large number of Tahoe Donner members. As I use the trials year-round, I am amazed at the number of homeowners who take their guests to the trails – FIRST – in order to show them why they enjoy living in the mountains. The first impression that we give to our guests shouldn’t be one of neglect!
Sincerely, Peter Sawyer
Thank you for taking the time to write a letter to the editor regarding your concerns for Tahoe Donner’s trail upkeep and maintenance. Tahoe Donner trails are a major part of Tahoe Donner’s appeal and deserve to look their best. Please trust that management at Tahoe Donner is well aware of these concerns and addressing them as quickly as allowable.
Tahoe Donner adopted its first Trails Master Plan in 2012; available for your review here (tahoedonner.com/members/capital-projects/completed-projects/trails-master-plan) on Tahoe Donner’s website. You’ll see in the plan that a few of the trails you mentioned in your letter (Nature Loop, Alder Creek Trail, etc.) are scheduled for major overhauling in layout, design, and maintenance. Tahoe Donner successfully applied for and was granted CEQA clearance for new construction, renovation and decommissioning/revegetation trail projects in the 5-Year Trail Implementation Plan this last year in Nevada County and Town of Truckee. This enabled Tahoe Donner to begin in earnest trail improvement projects. This 5-Year Implementation Plan includes addressing the Nature Loop and Alder Creek.
This fall Tahoe Donner trails staff and hired consultants began the initial studies on the Nature Loop and down in Euer Valley. Studies include biological and botanical studies, cultural resources, civil engineering, hydrology, and much more in order to appropriately address and permit the construction phase of the Nature Loop. This work will continue as long as weather will allow this late fall, and then pick back up as soon as the snow melts with the ultimate goal of providing for a project plan that will enhance the resources, and repair the trails sustainably. Stay tuned and look for education pieces on the trail work efforts in the Tahoe Donner News and on the Trails department webpage.
Director of Risk Management and Real Property