NORDEN, Calif. - On Sept. 23, the Donner Summit Area Association (DSAA) sponsored a benefit concert that raised more than $8,000 for the Royal Gorge acquisition. The Truckee Donner Land Trust (TDLT) and the Trust for Public Land worked with Serene Lakes Property Owners Association (SLPOA), Sugar Bowl Corporation and Homeowners, the North Fork Association, The Palisades, Sierra Watch, and many others to acquire the property.
On Monday, Oct. 1, the conservation groups placed a $500,000 deposit on the property and will need to raise a total of $11.25 million by Dec. 20, 2012, when the purchase is scheduled to be finalized.
Donner Summit residents have been active in the fundraising campaign and taking every opportunity to raise awareness and funds. An outdoor concert at a historic spot in September seemed like a good way to raise funds and celebrate the acquisition at the same time. Curious concert-goers parked in the lot donated by Donner Ski Ranch, gathered above the historic train tunnels of Donner Summit and after some brief introductions, enjoyed a brass quintet from the Sacramento Philharmonic, followed by a performance from Rootstock Percussion. After the concert, attendees enjoyed a reception at the lovely Lake Mary Cabin at Sugar Bowl.
Food donated by Sugar Bowl, Dragonfly, Moody's, Cottonwood, and the Summit Restaurant was served at the lakeside dining area provided by Sugar Bowl. DSAA volunteers served wine donated by Dave Lose, of Serene Lakes, the Pour House, and the Soda Springs General Store. Placer County Supervisor, Jennifer Montgomery, announced that at a Sept. 20 meeting, the Donner Summit Municipal Advisory Council (DSMAC) recommended that $300,000 in local parks mitigation funds be committed to the Royal Gorge acquisition. Supervisor Montgomery was on hand selling the photography work of her husband, Dan Gomez, donating the proceeds to the Land Trust. Perry Norris of TDLT pleased the crowd when he announced an anonymous donor pledged to match funds raised on Sunday. Norris introduced Sam Hodder, California director of the Trust for Public Land, who spoke of the national importance of the Royal Gorge acquisition.
In other news, Norris announced that with the help of this concert and the fundraising efforts of many other groups, it's on track raise the entire amount by the December deadline.
The purchase of Royal Gorge as open space, with the restoration of a world class Nordic ski resort will be a huge step toward addressing the ongoing concerns of the regional environment and economy. Just a few years ago, the Donner Summit community faced the possibility of large residential developments on the Royal Gorge lands. Now, those who were concerned about Donner Summit's future are stepping up to leave a legacy of conservation and recreation.