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Ridge added to Donner park

TRUCKEE -- Schallenberger Ridge, the scenic 1,923-acre southern backdrop to Donner Lake, is now a part of Donner Memorial State Park, tripling the size of the park.

The state purchased the land from the Trust for Public Land, which bought it in 2001 from Croman Timber Corp., an Oregon company, to protect it from logging and development.

The ridgeline, visible from Truckee and Interstate 80, contains portions of the Emigrant Trail. It will provide a key section of the 25-mile Donner Lake Rim Trail connecting Truckee and Emigrant Canyon to the Pacific Crest Trail.

The property, valued at $3.1 million, will expand recreational opportunities, including hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing, exploring the Emigrant Trail and observing wildlife, trust officials said.

The ridge is named for Moses Schallenberger, a member of the first pioneer party to take wagons over the Sierra Nevada, opening the California Trail in 1844. Schallenberger, who was 18, became ill and survived three winter months at the lake before being rescued.

His cabin was used two years later by members of the stranded Donner Party.