Map of Donner Lake Run and West End Beach parking.

In collaboration with the Truckee Parks and Recreation Department (TPRD), the Truckee Donner Land Trust (TDLT), and The Donner Lake Woods Home Owners Association (DLWHOA), the Tahoe Backcountry Alliance (TBA) is proud to announce the signed agreement allowing winter parking at the Donner Lake West End Beach Parking Lot!

This classic descent is a great source of recreation on public lands, but there have also been persistent access and trespassing issues in the Donner Lake neighborhoods for years. While the majority of users were respectful, there were recurring instances of illegal parking on public streets, parking in private driveways and littering. 

The Tahoe Backcountry Alliance, Truckee Donner Land Trust, and Donner Lakes Woods HOA have collaborated with the Truckee Parks and Recreation Department to create winter parking at the West End of Donner Lake. TBA is funding the re-paving of the twenty spaces and the annual snow clearing of the site. West end Snow Clearing is contracted to do the snow removal and has generously offered a discounted rate for this winter season. The lease agreement is for five years with possible renewal on the fifth and tenth year.  In addition, DLWHOA leased a portion of their open space parcel to the Land Trust in order to facilitate a full public lands descent from Donner Summit to the winter parking location.  

This new parking area will provide a means to manage user behavior, reduce litter, and concentrate traffic to and from one point. By creating one access point for legal, public recreation, users will begin and end their trips at the new trailhead, reducing unintentional trespassing and concentrating impacts onto the designated space. Additionally, mapped signage will help educate users about property boundaries and neighborhood regulations. 

Tahoe Backcountry Alliance Executive Director, Greg Garrison, says, “This is an amazing opportunity for the backcountry community to demonstrate the values of stewardship, mentorship, and dedication to the broader Tahoe community that make this user group so special. The upcoming ski season will see unprecedented backcountry users throughout the Tahoe Basin. It is imperative that we as the backcountry community continue to foster relationships such as this to improve our public lands access in the winter season”.

In order to ensure the continued support of the Parks Department, it is imperative that the backcountry community acts in good faith to the neighborhood homeowners and follows principles outlined in the recently published Backcountry Tips and Etiquette by TBA

Wayne Poulsen with his buddies shuttling Highway 40, circa 1932 (Glen Poulsen)