Since the annual meeting was cancelled and we don’t know when we’ll be able to have another, it seems like a good idea to catch you up on the year’s happenings via newsletter.
MSTA Board: Debbie Derby, John Harch, Lynda Hardy, Glenn Harvey, Mike Hupp, Barry Price, John Schuyler, Paul Schwartz, John Thomson.
MSTA Officers: President–John Harch. Vice President–John Schuyler. Secretary–Debbie Derby. Chief Financial Officer–Barry Price.
Treasurer (tax preparation, bookkeeping): Gaylin Rezek
- Gateway Trail Phase II— construction of the network of national forest system trails kicked off in 2020, after extensive environmental reviews were completed the year before. Work on the first few miles is underway, including the previously named “MX Trail” and most of the “Ten Gallon Trail,” which will connect Everitt Memorial Highway to Old McCloud Road. These trails are not yet open for use, eager beavers, but we’ll let you know as soon as they are. We’re extremely excited about moving forward with construction of more segments in the Big Mountain Zone in 2021.
- Gateway Trail I Reroute— substantial progress has been made on the reroute of a portion of the first section of the existing Gateway Trail. Working with the Forest Service, we located a better alignment that will provide scenic views and a more gradual gradient on the trail. It should be completed by this spring or summer.
- Trail from Castle Lake to Heart Lake— we received the “go-ahead” from the Wilderness Land Trust (temporary owner of the land) to reroute and better define the steep, eroding, and confusing trail to Heart Lake. Most of the work was done in November and December using the Deadwood CDC Crew and volunteers. Much remains to be done: build a bridge over the drainage outlet near the parking lot, finish rock work in multiple areas, and place signage along the way. We expect that most of this will be accomplished by volunteers this spring. Then you won’t get lost on the way to Heart Lake anymore!
- Mossbrae Falls Trail— the crush of visitors walking illegally (and unsafely) along the railroad tracks continues to increase. Locals are desperate to solve the parking, trash, and human excrement problems (“Just squatting in your yard on the way to the falls, ma’am”). We’ve had a breakthrough with Union Pacific Railroad this year, reaching agreement with them to explore engineering plans for a new trail. Spearheaded by Tom Hesseldenz, the plan proposes using the Hedge Creek Falls Trailhead and Trail, a pedestrian bridge over the Sacramento River, and then proceeding along the riverbank to the falls. Major improvements have already been completed on the Hedge Creek Falls Trail, including extending the trail to the river’s edge. Our engineering plans were recently sent to UP for review by an independent engineering firm. The process may be lengthy (and will certainly be expensive), but we’re hopeful we’ll be successful in making this widely renowned attraction safely and legally accessible.
- Timberland Trail— We made some progress on a trail to connect Snowman’s Hill to Dunsmuir on private timber lands previously held by Roseburg Forest Products, but hit a major snag because of liability issues. It’s possible we can rekindle this project in the future.
- MS City Park to Downtown Trail—alas, we’ve been working on this for about five years, with willing participation of Dignity Health (Mercy Medical Center). Currently, there remain problems connecting parcels because of intervening private land. It’s likely that a formal trail will have to be part of a larger master plan adopted by the City of Mount Shasta in the future.
- South Fork Sacramento River Basin— the Forest Service has notified us that as part of a larger watershed restoration project, they plan to convert unneeded roads to trails and create new trails in the vast expanse of land above and west of Lake Siskiyou. This could result in as much as 50 miles of new trail, or a “west side trail system,” to complement the Gateway Trail system located on the east side of the freeway. Stay tuned, because this would put us way beyond our goal of “100 Miles of Trail”!
- City Park Trails—many hours of volunteer labor were logged this year to spread chips, trim brush, and build several foot bridges to make the city park trails more enjoyable. Directional and interpretive signs are planned in the future. Thanks, Glenn Harvey and Mark Telegin!
- Sisson Callahan Trail—The USFS rerouted some problematic areas of the Sisson Callahan Trail this summer. MSTA then held several well-attended workdays to polish up some rough spots. Volunteers worked hard and were very enthusiastic. Ride it or hike it sometime soon.
PROP 68 GRANT: By now you probably know that MSTA recently received $1,115,000 from the California Natural Resources Agency in the form of a Recreational Trails and Greenways Grant. It was the culmination of a huge effort by our board, grantwriters, and grant experts who helped us. This gargantuan sum of money will help us build much of the 46 new miles of Gateway Trail, making Mt. Shasta a destination for hiking and biking. This is a big deal.
GIVING TUESDAY: Many thanks to the Community Foundation of the North State and our huge group of donors who came together to raise about $24,000 (also Debbie Derby and Lynda Hardy, who supervised the effort). These funds will be critical to advance the projects listed above.
NEW GATEWAY TRAIL WEBSITE: We’re about to unveil a brand new website dedicated to informing the public about the Gateway Trail, the ongoing expansion, volunteering, donating, and related resources. Look for it in January at gatewaytrail.org
VOLUNTEERING: Efforts on the Heart Lake Trail, Sisson Callahan Trail, and the Gateway Trail expansion have been supported by hundreds of hours of volunteer labor. This keeps construction costs down, intimately connects those volunteers to the trails, and creates new friendships. We’ve had a lot of fun out there digging, clipping, raking, and moving rocks. Join the volunteer crew by checking our website. And you don’t have to break rocks to volunteer for MSTA; we have lots of ways to use your skills and your brains. Just give us a chance.
ANNUAL MEETING: Covid 19 shot our annual meeting all to hell, but we’re planning a big informational meeting with food and drink as soon as it’s safe to gather again. Presentations on all these wonderful developments will be featured, with photos, videos, and the opportunity to ask questions. And maybe we can hug each other when it happens.
FINANCIAL STATEMENTS: An annual financial report will be posted to our website in early January. Remember that MSTA has no employees or payroll; our activities and projects are accomplished by volunteers, including the board and our work crews. We do contract out trail-building activities that require heavy equipment and professional skills.
FUTURE FINANCIAL NEEDS: All the projects described above need to be funded. The Prop 68 Grant will allow us to build many miles of trail, but we still have to match a significant portion of the grant with our own funds and labor. We also need to build trailheads, maintain trails, finance the Mossbrae Falls dream, create and purchase signs for nearly everything, and buy tools and a tool trailer for our volunteers. So don’t forget us…and tell your rich friends.
Volunteers work on a new segment of the Gateway Trail on a cool November morning.