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Donner Memorial State Park

Road and Trail Management Plan

The Donner Memorial State Park (DMSP) staff is currently developing a management plan for the park’s system of roads and trails. DMSP is situated in the town of Truckee, 12 miles west of North Lake Tahoe and 100 miles east of Sacramento. Interstate 80, along the north side of DMSP, brings millions of vehicles annually near the park. DMSP consists of approximately 1,750 acres, 26 miles of roads, and 9 miles of trails.

The Donner Memorial State Park 2003 General Plan made specific trail-related recommendations, including to "prepare a Roads and Trails Management Plan for guiding the location, distance, use, and maintenance of existing and future roads and trails." The General Plan states that the "existing system of roads and trails at Donner Memorial State Park has grown through time primarily in response to the construction of new facilities, and to allow public access to park resources.

In light of potential land acquisitions and modifications of existing land uses recommended in this General Plan, the entire road and trail system in the park should be analyzed, and recommendations made for appropriate modifications to existing circulation systems. The General Plan also states that the Roads and Trails Management Plan (RTMP) "emphasis should be placed on creating opportunities for visitors to enjoy the park’s diverse topography, biotic communities, scenic views, and cultural attractions with minimal or no impact to the park’s natural or cultural resources."

Additional RTMP goals from the DMSP General Plan:
 * Avoid loss of trees and impacts to important habitats and soil stability in all significant ecosystems within the park.
 * Evaluate the suitability of using the historic Emigrant Trail for future trail use and/or an interpretive trail experience.
Establish design and maintenance criteria for new and existing roads and trails in the park.
 * Establish criteria and characteristics for appropriate road and trail design to guide future road-to-trail conversions and new road and trail construction and maintenance.


The purpose of the Road and Trail Management Plan is to provide specific direction for the long term construction, maintenance, and management of the roads and trails system.  Specifically, the plan will:
• Determine which roads and trails should be maintained, removed, and/or enhanced.
• Identify which of the unofficial trails should be removed and which should be made official. 
• Determine the types of trail uses (e.g. hiking, biking, and/or equestrian) that are appropriate on each road and trail. 
• Identify those roads and trails that lead to damage of the natural and cultural resources of the park, for example a trail that passes through an area of sensitive natural resources, and need to be re-routed and/or reconstructed. 
• Identify trail connections necessary to create trail loops and/or connect to trails outside the park. 
• Identify  opportunities for new trails, where appropriate
• Identify necessary trail facilities, such as restrooms, parking, and drinking water

Data Collection
The first stage of the planning process is to evaluate the existing condition of the roads and trails in the park and the permitted uses of each, and develop an inventory of each road and trail feature and condition. This information is then used to evaluate road and trail conditions and associated effects to natural and cultural resources.  A variety of documents is developed to describe and illustrate these inventories and assessments, which can be viewed via the links below.
Road and Trail Existing Conditions
Quad Map

User Input
Additional data is being gathered through a survey of park users.  Data includes information on users’ current forms of recreation in the park and ideas for improving existing and developing new trails and facilities.  These surveys are being conducted during different seasons of the year to solicit input from a variety of trail users.  In addition to the survey, meetings were held with various user groups, such as equestrian and mountain biking clubs, to collect data and input on plan proposals.  A summary of user comments is available here (in progress).

Proposals to change the types of uses permitted on a trail (i.e., proposals to add biking and/or equestrians to a trail) will be evaluated using the process described in the related Program Environmental Impact Report, available here.  A flow chart of this process is available here.  The form that was used to evaluate each proposed change-in-use at DMSP is available here.

Road and Trail Management Plan (in progress)
RTMP Maps:
Trail Segments