Conservation Groups to Buy Royal Gorge Land on Donner Summit
Conservation groups are raising money to buy the 3,000-acre Royal Gorge property at Donner Summit, near Interstate 80 in the Sierra Nevada.
The agreement, announced Monday, will protect the land from development and eventually make it accessible to the public.
Tom Mooers, executive director of Sierra Watch, says the deal will permanently protect valuable resources, including the headwaters of the Yuba River, the North Fork American River Canyon, wildlife habitat, the forest, the trails and the cross-country skiing areas.
“This is one of the biggest conservation acquisitions we’ll see in our lifetime,” Mooers says.
Three groups, led by the Truckee Donner Land Trust, have until December 20 to raise the $13.5 million needed to buy the Sierra Nevada property.
Royal Gorge fell into foreclosure after a controversial 950-unit resort was stalled by local opposition and the economic collapse. The Northern Sierra Partnership is coordinating the fundraising campaign. And the Land Trust will work with community groups to improve the network of local trails so visitors can more easily explore the property.