Donner Summit residents voice opinions as Royal Gorge development looms |

Donner Summit residents voice opinions as Royal Gorge development looms

Photo by Ryan Salm

A recent survey of Donner Summit residents showed both a strong sense of satisfaction with their quality of life and strong concerns about future development.

As part of an effort to create a consensus on the Summit in the shadow of the proposed development of Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort, the Donner Summit Area Association commissioned Godbe Research to survey area residents. Some 1,500 people were sent surveys, with 582 responses returned.

Godbe has worked in the area before as the firm that conducted a survey regarding the Truckee-Tahoe Airport.

“We’ve been committed to creating a voice for the entire Summit,” said Pat Malberg, president of the association. “There hasn’t been a sense of community for quite a while, and we thought that was important.”

The results of the survey show that residents from different groups had similar priorities, Malberg said.

“Regardless of income, age, part-time or full-time (residence), people are unified in preserving the environment and controlling growth,” said Bill Oudegeest with the Serene Lakes Property Owners Association.

Sixty-three percent of respondents said regulating growth and development was the most important issue, but Malberg said the survey did not specifically address Royal Gorge, potentially the area’s largest development.

“Royal Gorge is certainly a galvanizing issue up here, but the survey was not meant to be political in any way,” Malberg said. “Royal Gorge will get out of this survey what everybody else gets out of it.”

Mike Livak, the Royal Gorge project manager, said he has given the survey to the development’s planning team for consideration.

“This, like all the information we are gathering, is relevant to our planning efforts,” Livak said. “This information is important to us; it’s important what the community thinks.”

With the survey complete, Malberg said the next step will be the second Donner Summit Summit on Dec. 15, where area associations and government entities will come together to begin the creation of a community plan.

“We will be considering what the Summit should be like in the future, and eventually working with Nevada County and Placer County on a community plan,” Oudegeest said. “That will be the most important step in passing the Summit to future generations.”

— 88%: Part-time residents

— 92%: Satisfied with overall quality of life

— 55%: Said the natural environment is the most-liked feature

— 63%: Said regulating growth an development is the most important issue

— 46%: Said growth is happening too fast

— 40%: Said road conditions and traffic flow are “fair”

Go to to view the survey results and find out more about the association.

The second Donner Summit Summit will be held at 10 a.m. Dec. 15 at the Donner Trail School.

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