Letter will be sent to Caltrans asking to vacate Donner path | TheUnion.com

Letter will be sent to Caltrans asking to vacate Donner path

Despite allegations of favoring one constituent over many others, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to request that Caltrans vacate an old Donner Lake area trail easement for a private property owner.

Supervisor John Spencer said three men who accused him of helping the property owner, Frank Cadjew, for monetary gain in the situation were dead wrong, “and your approach has a tendency to turn people off.”

Last week the men alleged that Spencer, a Grass Valley surveyor, and Supervisor Ted Owens, a Truckee homebuilder, might get work if Cadjew turned the property into a subdivision. The three men were Milan Wight of the Donner Lake Property Owners Association and Rick Martel and Stan Sandelius of the Historic Donner Trail Committee.

The men also said Cadjew’s disputed portion of the trail near the west end of Donner Lake dates back to the Transcontinental Railroad, the Donner Party and has particular historical interest.

Cadjew has blocked off a portion of the trail to hikers with boulders and warning signs since the early 1990s, claiming it is his private land. A variety of people have been trying to open the trail through his land ever since.

Both Owens and Spencer said last week that they were trying to help Cadjew keep his privacy and property rights intact, while trying to find a new trail route for hikers. Owens added Tuesday that approaching Caltrans was a mere formality that will get the trail dispute out in the open.

Spencer took it a step further at the board meeting when he addressed the three men making the allegations, each of whom were present.

“You’ve taken a very unusual approach,” Spencer said. “You’ve decided to slander the Board of Supervisors in our local newspaper. Where did you get the idea that would be productive?”

Apparently not moved, Wight told the board if they persisted in giving away historic land to private property owners, their current terms in office could be their last.

“Recall elections do happen,” Wight said.

Sandelius showed the board 200 petitions from Donner Lake homeowners asking that the trail be opened and said, “you are supporting one constituent.”

Lloyd Johnson, a former Caltrans engineer and a member of the Lincoln Highway Association said the trail is part of that historic road and “This road is of special interest to the Truckee residents. A continuous trail is of great value to the community.”

Others said a recent survey can prove the trail is part of the old Lincoln Highway, as well as the Donner Trail and used by Transcontinental Railroad workers.

The board voted unanimously to send the letter. A public hearing through Caltrans will probably result and a county hearing could also occur, Owens said.


To contact senior staff writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@theunion.com or call 477-4237.

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