Looking across the Truckee River at West River Park. Photo by Bill Stevenson

Looking across the Truckee River at West River Park. Photo by Bill Stevenson


For nearly 20 years, the Truckee Donner Land Trust has dreamt of protecting the open space along the Truckee River as it passes through the historic downtown core. Today, the Land Trust is under contract to purchase the property for $6 million.

Located west of Bridge street on the south side of the Truckee River, the property – called West River Park – will open riverfront open space for the public to enjoy, creating a critical connection to California Department of Fish and Wildlife and US Forest Service Property upstream, the key missing link for the planned Truckee River Legacy Trail on its way from Glenshire in the East to Donner Lake in the west.

“This is a dream come true – for so long, the Truckee River hasn’t been accessible from downtown – for people who want to picnic, walk along its banks or skip stones in its water,” said Perry Norris, executive director of the Land Trust. “It will serve as a hub, connecting the town, the river and trails.

The land trust has 12 months to raise the $6 million to secure the property, and fundraising will be critical to the success of the project.

“The Land Trust’s acquisition of the property is a total game changer for Truckee,” said Tony Lashbrook, Truckee’s former town manager. “Since the creation of the Downtown Specific Plan more than 20 years ago, a riverfront park has been envisioned to serve as an anchor for the town.”

Current zoning allows for up to a 120-room hotel or 40 single family residences – but as an open space park available to the public, springs, wetlands and riparian habitat can be repaired and restored, helping both local ecology and Truckee River water quality.

The property has a lot of history, dating back to the turn of the 20th century, where C.F. McGlashan built an ice palace and a footbridge across the river, using the nearby pond as an ice-skating rink.

The Land Trust envisions a footbridge from West River Street for easy public access, but plans to maintain the open-space character of the property with minimal additions of trail, picnic tables and benches.