This page used to be an homage to Summit Valley - until the local Truckee Donner Land Trust decided to drain the lake. See the link to the "Great Jewel Heist" below.
Introduction to Summit Valley - AKA Van Norden
Summit Valley used to be spectacular. It is the headwaters of the Yuba River. It's ecology was rich and diverse with almost a hundred species of birds visiting, 115 species of butterflies in the meadow and environs, dozens of mammal species, 15 species of amphibians, and dozens of species of wildflowers.
The history is equally amazing. Native Americans visited in summers for thousands of years leaving behind grinding rocks, metates, cupules, and thousands of basalt flakes used to make spear and atlatl points. The first wagons to reach California came through Summit Valley. The Dutch Flat Wagon Rd. went right through it in 1864 to help build the railroad and carry freight. The first transcontinental railrroad, highway, and telephone line went along the edge. The first transcontinental air route went over head delineated by beacons on the neighboring hills. The first transcontinental telegraph came to join the other lines.
There is the site of the Summit Valley Ice Co. at the edge of the valley. There are cabin sites, a hotel site, sheep pens (the Summit was a top sheep shipping area in the U.S.) and a sheepherder's cabin remains.
The links here are for PDF's that will take you to an "Introduction to Summit Valley", an "Owner's Manual." The actual brochure is too large to print out but can be obtained on the Summit. Page 1 and then Page 2 (total brochure size is 17X19 inches). Despite the many pictures and the size both have been optimized for download at less than print quality. Pictures are by George Lamson.
Read about issues regarding the future of Summit Valley/Van Norden.
Read about the Great Jewel Heist here in Summit Valley. The Land Trust has drained the lake. The beaver lodge is now high and dry. Imagine what this will do to the bird population, the butterfly population, the millions of toads (that literally true - the millions part). The fish are dead.