Creating Visionary Spaces Honoring the Legacy of the Pioneers Spirit

Why The Donner Project

Donner Memorial State Park sits at the gateway to California. It features an inviting new Visitor Center where guests learn about the history of the area and the challenges emigrants faced crossing the Sierra Divide on their way west. The 1918 Pioneer Monument, a major feature of the park, is now approaching a critical tipping point of irreversible deterioration. The surrounding landscape is begging for a feature to accommodate outdoor groups. Great potential exists to add places that encourage families to share stories, friends to explore, and groups to interact with our distinctive past.

Your Help Is Needed

  • The 100 year old Pioneer Monument will continue to deteriorate and possibly risk collapse.
  • The Pioneer Monument sits awkwardly alone in the center of a worn and empty landscape environment.
  • Noise from Interstate 80 competes with docent tour and visitor conversation
  • A lack of gathering space creates missed opportunities for groups, families and friends to interact and enjoy the park

The Vision 

  • Restore the Monument
    • The Donner Project Capital Campaign will fund repairs, restoration and ongoing maintenance for the sculpture, its pedestal and the surrounding grounds.
  • Create Unifying Landscaping
    • Well-designed sustainable landscaped spaces will unify the environment and inspire and foster a sense of belonging further recognizing our shared heritage.
  • Design & Construct an Outdoor Education Pavilion
    • The location of the pavillion will buffer noise from highway traffic enabling outdoor programming for small and large groups, meetings, performances, weddings, and many other special events.
    • This space is designed to encourage picnics and conversation. The features of the pavillion reflect the Washoe Indian contribution to our shared heritage.

Our Shared Impact

The Sierra State Parks Foundation and the Historic Preservation Foundation of the Native Sons of the Golden West have partnered with California State Parks to raise the needed funds to complete this shared vision of The Donner Project. 

Together We Can Complete The Donner Project.

“Visitors come from all over the country, and the world, to learn about the emigrants crossing the Sierra Divide. We have many things to teach about our past but it is difficult with a lack of space for groups to gather and to overcome the constant noise from Interstate 80.” -Greg Palmer, Donner Docent

In memory of our past and in honor of those who follow, please consider this worthy investment in our future and submit your donation today

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The Donner Project Case Statement