State Parks, Placer County move forward with plans to build Memorial Overland Emigrant Trail

Published on August 16, 2017

 Plans to build a 16-mile trail re-creating the original wagon route west over Donner Summit are closer to taking shape with the approval today of an agreement for construction and management of the Memorial Overland Emigrant Trail through Donner Memorial State Park.

The earth trail will stretch from Kingvale through Donner State Memorial Park in Truckee, following the original Overland Emigrant Trail but away from its remnants to protect its historical artifacts.

“The Overland Emigrant Trail is such an important piece of our history, and the new trail will help us connect with that history and the incredible natural beauty of its surroundings,” said District 5 Supervisor and Board Chairwoman Jennifer Montgomery. “I couldn’t be happier to see it moving forward.”

The portion of the trail through the park will also help form the planned Donner Lake Rim Trail being developed by a number of agencies. West of the park, Sugar Bowl Ski Corporation has already provided a half mile of completed trail and Placer County is working with the U.S. Forest Service and Truckee Donner Land Trust to secure an additional 3 miles of trail across the Royal Gorge resort property.

Under the memorandum of understanding between Placer County and California Department of Parks and Recreation, approved today by the county Board of Supervisors, Placer County will take the lead on planning and design of the trail, funded in part by transient occupancy tax revenues. California Department of Parks and Recreation will oversee permitting and construction of the trail, as funding and resources allow. The park will maintain and manage the trail within its boundaries. California Department of Parks and Recreation approved the agreement July 24.

Placer County has contracted with Stantec Inc. to complete environmental studies for the trail and design its alignment through the park, expected to be completed by summer of 2018. Public workshops are planned and will be announced as they’re scheduled.