Donner state park campground remains closed due to plague scare |

Donner state park campground remains closed due to plague scare

Camping. Hot dogs. Swimming. Plague.

Obviously, that last item isn’t a traditional part of Labor Day celebrations.

So Donner Memorial State Park’s 149 campsites will be closed over the weekend, due to a plague scare at the park on the eastern shore of Donner Lake.

The park’s museum will remain open.

Officials became concerned about a possible plague outbreak after park workers reported a die-off of ground squirrels.

Also, a park employee’s cat became ill with plague-like symptoms.

So officials closed the park’s camping and day-use area Wednesday, hoping they’d get test results back Friday from two dead squirrels and the sick cat.

If the tests had been negative, the park would have been reopened for Labor Day.

“Unfortunately … we haven’t gotten back results on our tests … I don’t know what the big holdup is,” said park ranger Mark Hoffmann.

Park officials were able to find alternate campsites at other state park facilities for the people who made 75 camping reservations at Donner Memorial State Park.

Some campers were rerouted to Sugar Pine Point State Park on the west shore of Lake Tahoe; others will go to Eagle Point on Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay; some will camp at Plumas Eureka State Park.

Plague exists in much of California, except the Central Valley, the southeastern desert region and some parts of the coast.

Known as the Black Death in the 14th century, the plague claimed tens of thousands of lives in Europe.

People can catch plague from sick animals through flea bites, direct contact or pneumonia – the deadliest form of plague – through sneezing from a sick pet.

In a campground setting, the potential for plague spreading to humans is significant, said Norm Greenberg, director of Nevada County Environmental Health.

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