Concerns over plague close Donner |

Concerns over plague close Donner

State officials will close Donner Memorial State Park for the rest of the season because Nevada County health officials are concerned about a possible outbreak of plague in the area.

While no animals with the disease have been found in the park, county officials reported that two found adjacent to the park tested positive for plague. Several dead rodents from within the park are still undergoing tests.

“We feel it is prudent to close the park at this time and avoid even the remote possibility of one of our visitors getting sick,” said Marilyn Murphy, superintendent of the park. She noted that the park would close in a few weeks for winter anyway.

The park was closed Aug. 27 after the county Health Department issued an alert for plague in the Donner area.

In a letter to state parks officials this week, the county recommended that the facility be closed for the remainder of the season, even though three suspect animals from within the park – two squirrels and a cat – tested negative for plague.

“The bottom line (is), the absence of detected plague in these specimens neither confirms nor excludes the possibility of plague in the park,” the letter concluded.

The park’s campgrounds and day-use areas remain closed. The museum will continue to operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, according to park officials.

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