Other Voices: How to aid Donner Summit
Dark clouds are looming over Donner Summit with the proposed plans for massive development by Foster/Syme, Royal Gorge, LLC.
Although replete with all the politically correct “green” catchwords of the day, these plans include mowing down an estimated 40,000 trees for an inadequate new downhill area, more condominiums than North Star and Squaw Valley combined and another 350 units with more condominiums, virtually decimating the cross country ski trails of Royal Gorge.
Much of this will pollute the headwaters to the South Yuba River, as well as lakes Serena and Dulzera as the developers’ new property contains the true headwaters of the South Yuba River and a primary tributary of the North Fork of the American River. For the “cross country ski experience,” they’ve promised to lay out rubber mats for all of the new road crossings, criss-crossing their way to 350 new homes, condos, hotel, and two man-made lakes.
They claim to be doing this because of their “love” for the Sierra. Donner Summit is a place of breathtaking beauty. It is a place of historical significance to all of us and it deserves so much more than what they have in mind. In fact, it deserves to be left alone.
When Misters Foster and Syme are finished, it will be like every other “corporate template” ski area. The one exception is that Donner Summit will then be known as a “conservation community” with four distinct “eco-village camps.” The massive parking lots, concrete condos, shopping and other recreational “upgrades” will remain faithful to the tried and true blueprint of “maximizing their profits.” Lest you pity the folks trying to make a buck on Donner Summit, these two have holdings all over the world.
Yes, they plan to put some of it into a “land trust.” This “land trust” they plan to “conserve” is land they cannot build on. It is unsuitable for anything profitable. Do not be fooled by these “conservation heroes.” Donner Summit needs your help.
In order of importance, here’s what you can do:
1) Letters to Ms. Crystal Jacobsen, County of Placer, Community Development Resources Agency- Planning, 3091 County Center Drive, Ste. 140, Auburn, CA, 95603, voicing your disapproval are critical. Asking to be put on their distribution for all notices of public hearings is extremely helpful. While generally a small distribution list, our right to be notified allows for this distribution to become huge. Having to send out hundreds or thousands of notices will send a strong message to Placer County. You do not need to live in Placer County to do this. Log on to http://www.savedonner summit.org for a sample letter.
2) Get 10 of your friends to write letters of objection, and ask to be notified of all hearings. Write these letters now. You have 30 days.
3) Send money to http://www.sierrawatch.org, or The Sierra Club earmarked for Donner Summit.
4) Attend as many public meetings as you can. Speak out.
5) Log onto http://www.savedonnersummit.org for a complete list of things you can do to protect Donner Summit.
Nancy Minges is a resident of Soda Springs.
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