Castle Peak trailhead on Donner Summit sold to U. S. Forest Service

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 5:31 AM

S. Forest Service. The Castle Peak trailhead, a 412-acre portal to Sierra NV backcountry just N of Interstate eighty, had been in the hands of private owners who'd sought to expand it, said Perry Norris, executive director of the Truckee Donner Land Trust.

Castle Peak trailhead on Donner Summit sold to U. S. Forest Service

A Donner Summit area favorite with hikers, mountain bikers and cross-country skiiers has been sold to environmental groups that transferred ownership to the U. S. Forest Service.

The Castle Peak trailhead, a 412-acre portal to Sierra NV backcountry just N of Interstate eighty, had been in the hands of private owners who'd sought to expand it, said Perry Norris, executive director of the Truckee Donner Land Trust. The area will presently be preserved, he said.

“This purchase is about protecting a resource that a lot of people have taken for granted and one that many didn't realize was threatened,” Norris said. “The purchase means there will never be a hotel or a golf course there.”

The trust, along with the Tahoe National Forest and the Believe for Public Land, bought the property for $2.1 million from Pendola Enterprises of Grass Valley and sold it to the U. S. Forest Service for the same price March twenty-five.

The Pendola family of Grass Valley initially saw the land as ripe for development, given its location close several Donner Summit ski areas, but had listed it for sale for the last fifteen years with a price tag of $7.5 million, Norris said.

The land encompasses a trace network that leads to Castle Valley and Castle Peak, the Pacific Crest Trail, the Sierra Club’s Peter Grubb Hut, the Hole in the Ground trace and the Donner Lake Rim Trail.

“This is arguably the most favorite trailhead in our corner of the Sierra,” Jeff Brown, the Truckee Donner Land Trust’s board president, said in a news release.

It needs improvements to accommodate the heavy use, Norris said.

“The land is a wreck up there. The parking is horrible and the gullies are washed out,” said Norris. “Our map is to work with the Forest Service in the coming years to make better the trailhead and add interpretive signage to enrich the visitor experience.”

The acquisition is the latest in which the Truckee Donner Land Believe and other preservation groups have purchased private property to safeguard public access to backcountry recreation areas.

In December, the believe acquired twelve acres of private land close Donner Summit for $300.000 to preserve access to the craggy, 400-foot Black Wall, an iconic granite outcropping favorite with climbers.

The Truckee Donner Land Believe and the Believe for Public Land bought the 3.000 acres of the Royal Gorge cross-country ski resort close Donner Summit for $11 million in December two thousand twelve. That land, too, had been owned by would-be developers, who eventually went bankrupt.

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