Truckee River Day in Tahoe Donner, October 19

The Truckee River Watershed Council’s 19th annual Truckee River Day is coming up in just a couple weeks. Here in Tahoe Donner we’ll be planting pine tree saplings with our Forestry Department.

Pine tree plantings are wonderful events. The work is fun, perfect for kids, and it’s rewarding to see all the new trees growing in an area that was burned or damaged and know that you helped with the restoration. It’ll be a great way to spend a fall morning.

The Watershed Council asks that you register online for this event by Friday, October 10. Here’s all the information.

Truckee River Day, Tahoe Donner Sapling Planting
- Date: Sunday, October 19
- Time: 9am – 3pm, but you can leave early if you like
- Registration: at TruckeeRiverWC.org by Friday, October 10

The Watershed Council will email you other specifics, including the meeting place, after you’re officially assigned to a project.

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Tahoe Donner Volunteer Trails Day, September 13

The final Tahoe Donner Trails Day of the season will take place on Saturday, September 13. This time we’ll be working on the East Perimeter Trail where we’ll spend the morning restoring the tread, clearing loose rock, and improving the drainage.

Tahoe Donner Volunteer Trails Day
Date: Saturday, September 13
Time: 9:00 to noon.
Meeting Location: We will meet at the Nordic Center gate on Alder Creek Rd. before walking out to the work site on the East Perimeter Trail.

Everyone is advised to wear sturdy shoes and gloves, drink plenty of water, and use sun protection.

People often tell us that they’d like to be more involved with the trails, but they’re a little intimidated by trail work. Please be assured that for Trails Day we always try to choose family friendly projects that are open to a wide range of ages and physical abilities. Everyone will be able to choose their own level. We’ll also have experts from the Trails Department on hand to supervise, and to teach everyone a bit about proper trail design and repair.

The Trails Club has deemphasized trail work in recent seasons, mostly because of the logistical difficulties it incurs, but we expect the opportunities for doing volunteer work on Tahoe Donner’s trails will increase dramatically once construction of the Donner Lake Rim Trail (DLRT) proceeds through our McGlashan Springs and Bucknam Tract properties. The DLRT will, of course, be built entirely by volunteers. Our September 13 volunteer event is a great way to get a taste of the kind of help that will be required to complete this much anticipated project.

For more information please email the Trails Club at tdtrails@gmail.com.

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Invasive Weed Pull, Saturday, August 30

Join Friends of Tahoe Donner Trails on Saturday, August 30 for a family-friendly invasive weed pull atop the Tahoe Donner Ski Hill.

Last year we organized a small musk thistle pull near the Eagle Rock lift. That pull was so effective that this year only a few musk thistle remain. That’s why for this year’s invasive weed pull, our primary focus will be that area’s enormous bull thistle infestation.

Specifically, we’ll be uprooting as many tiny, first year rosettes as we can so they don’t mature into monster, second year plants next summer.

Because we’re only targeting small rosettes, this weed pull will be easy, family-friendly, and fun. It’s nearly as simple to uproot a bull thistle rosette as it is to uproot a dandelion. The rosettes can, however, be difficult to spot, which is why this weed pull is really a scavenger hunt with a garden trowel.

BullThistle640Mature, second year bull thistles (left) are big, monstrous, nasty plants. Removing them is a difficult and usually painful endeavor. Baby, first year bull thistle rosettes (right) are tiny, typically just a few inches across, and they pop out in seconds with any weeding tool.

Bull thistle is by far the most common invasive weed in Tahoe Donner. In some neighborhoods it’s growing on every single lot. So it’s no surprise that folks are always asking for advice on controlling the infestations they’re finding on their property. At this weed pull you will learn everything you need to know about the easiest and most effective way to control those infestations, namely by targeting first year rosettes.

As a bonus, for all who are interested, we can also take a short walk (about 1/4 mile on a dirt road) down to the top of the Eagle Rock chairlift, and remove the few musk thistle that remain. So this weed pull will also double as a quick workshop on musk thistle identification.

Here are all the details:

  • Date: Saturday, August 30
  • Time: 10:00 – 12:00
  • Location: The (future) Cell Tower Site, atop the ski hill.
  • Parking: Map
  • What to wear: Sturdy shoes, hat, work gloves, sun protection.
  • What to bring: Plenty of water and your favorite weeding tool. Garden trowels, small round point shovels, and hori-hori digging knives are especially recommended, but any weeding implement will work just fine.

For more information please email the Trails Club at tdtrails@gmail.com.

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Alder Creek Meadow Cleanup, Saturday, July 19

On Saturday July 19, we’ll be partnering with the trails staff for a second Alder Creek Meadow cleanup. If you’re unfamiliar with that area, it’s just past the gate at the end of Alder Creek Road.

For years the meadow was used as something of a dump. Last year we had a great turnout for our volunteer cleanup day, and we removed whole truckloads of debris from the meadow. Although the site is in much better shape today, there’s still work to be done to return it to pristine condition. (Particularly if we have another great turnout, we might also spend some time sprucing up one of the nearby trails.)

Here’s all the information:

Alder Creek Meadow Cleanup
Date: Saturday, July 19
Time: 9:00am – 12:00pm
Place: We’ll meet near the Equestrian Center gate, and walk to the site. Although that facility is under construction, there is ample parking along Alder Creek Road.

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Weed Walk with The Weed Warriors, Saturday, August 2

For the second year in  a row, Friends of Tahoe Donner Trails will partner with the Truckee River Watershed Council’s Weed Warriors to conduct an educational weed walk here in Tahoe Donner. We’ll visit three areas, carpooling from place to place, and walking out short distances to see nearly a dozen infestations. The walk will conclude with a lunch provided by the Weed Warriors.

Here are all the details:

Tahoe Donner Weed Walk with The Weed Warriors
Date: Saturday, August 2
Time: 10:00am – 12:00pm (Lunch will follow.)
Meeting Place: Tahoe Donner Clubhouse, 11509 Northwoods Blvd.

RSVP required by July 30. Please specify a vegetarian lunch if preferred. To RSVP email tdtrails@gmail.com.

Nota Bene: Participants must be 10 years or older and able to walk short distances (less than 1/3 of a mile total) over rough, dirt terrain.

Tahoe Donner is an unfortunate host to some of the region’s most noxious invasive weeds, including musk thistle, Scotch thistle, spotted knapweed, and poison hemlock. There is no better way to learn about these noxious weeds than to join us on a weed walk.

Even if you participated in last year’s weed walk, please know that you’re encouraged to attend this year’s walk as well. When learning to identify invasive weeds, repetition is an essential virtue.

Invasive weed spotting is a rewarding activity for all ages, and a great way to protect the integrity of our local natural environment. You can do it every day in your neighborhood and on the trails. What’s more, because it’s almost like a natural scavenger hunt, it’s also quite fun. If you catch the weed spotting bug, you might even find it a little addictive.

So please join us on our weed walk, and try your hand at invasive weed spotting!

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Tahoe Donner Trails Day Volunteer Kick-off, June 21

The first Tahoe Donner Trails Day of the season will take place on Saturday, June 21st. This time we’ll be out on the popular Nature Trail, repairing trail tread, clearing loose rocks, and trimming back brush.

Tahoe Donner Trails Day
Date: Saturday, June 21
Time: 9:00 to noon, concluding with lunch.
Location: We will meet at the Northwoods Clubhouse before walking out to the work site on the Nature Trail.

Everyone is advised to wear sturdy shoes and gloves, drink plenty of water, and wear sun protection.

People often tell us that they’d like to be more involved with the trails, but they’re a little intimidated by trail work. Please be assured that for Trails Day we always try to choose family friendly projects that are open to a wide range of ages and physical abilities. Everyone should be able to choose their own level. We’ll also have experts from the Trails Department on hand to supervise, and to teach everyone a bit about proper trail design and repair.

The Trails Club has deemphasized trail work in recent seasons, mostly because of the logistical difficulties it incurs. There is good reason to believe those difficulties will diminish in the coming years. Indeed, there should be many opportunities for volunteer trail work in Tahoe Donner once construction of the Donner Lake Rim Trail (DLRT) proceeds through our McGlashan Springs and Bucknam Tract properties. Trails Day is a great way to get a little taste of the kind of work that goes into larger projects like the DLRT.

For more information please email the Trails Club at tdtrails@gmail.com.

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Invasive Weed Volunteers Needed: Truckee Day, June 7

On the morning of June 7 Friends of Tahoe Donner Trails will partner with the Truckee River Watershed Council’s Weed Warriors to bring invasive weed control to the annual Truckee Day Neighborhood Cleanup.

We’re looking for Champion Weed Warriors to help teach our neighbors basic invasive weed identification and weed removal techniques. Specifically, we plan to target bull thistle, a class-c weed that is widespread all across Tahoe Donner.

Because cleanup volunteers tend not to arrive all at once, most of the teaching will be done one on one or in small groups. So we’ll need a number of Champion Weed Warriors to get the cleanup volunteers prepared. We hope you’re willing to help us.

Champion Weed Warriors will need to arrive at Snowtech (17356 Northwoods Blvd.) no later than 7:45 am, so that we’re ready to receive the first volunteers at 8:00 am. We should have the last volunteers ready to roam the streets by 9:30. After that, if you choose, you’ll be free to join the cleanup efforts yourself.

It’s not a long commitment, but it is an important one. Truckee Day brings a lot of volunteers to Tahoe Donner, and we’ll need plenty of help preparing them to combat invasive weeds.

If you participated in any of our weed walks or weed pulls last year, please consider sharing your knowledge on Truckee Day. However, no experience with invasive weeds is necessary, as training sessions will be available. (See below.)

This is a great opportunity to teach our neighbors about the invasive weed problem here in Tahoe Donner. Let’s try to lend a hand, and help the Weed Warriors make this a successful event.

If you would like to help prepare volunteers on Truckee Day, please email the trails club at tdtrails@gmail.com.

Optional Training Sessions

There will be two optional training sessions for those who need a primer (or a refresher) on invasive weeds and bull thistle identification. The first is on May 30 at 5:30 pm, and the second is on June 6 at 5:30 pm. Both training sessions will take place at the Tahoe Donner Substation off Skislope Way (across the street from the boat and trailer storage yard), and shouldn’t run any longer than half an hour. The terrain in this area can be a bit rough and uneven, so you’ll want to wear sturdy shoes. If you could benefit from a training session, but can’t make either date, please email tdtrails@gmail.com to make alternative arrangements.

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