From its inception in the late 80’s, the volunteers who are the Mount Shasta Trail Association have been focused on improving the quality of life in our region by facilitating outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship. In conjunction with the USDA Forest Service (USFS), the MSTA’s first project was to research the feasibility of an “Around-the-Mountain” trail of about 40 miles at approximately tree line. Although the concept was widely supported, the environmental obstacles (unstable slopes, no water, private property, etc) proved to be insurmountable.
The momentum of this group was quickly redirected toward other trail projects such as Squaw Valley Creek and Box Canyon. Working with the USFS, the MSTA also began maintenance work on the historic Sisson Callahan Trail near Mt. Eddy. While these projects progressed from year to year, MSTA co-founder Tom Hesseldenz drafted plans and proposals for the ambitious “Lake Siskiyou Trail,” which eventually became one of our largest projects. We have gone on the build the Gateway Trail network, the Spring Hill Trail, and the Shastice Bike Park.
Our community can easily be divided into two groups: Siskiyou county residents who are personally committed to the use and conservation of our outdoor environments, and out-of-towners who lend their support to our efforts through their financial contributions and periodic visits. Working in unison, these people are the body of an organization that researches, designs, and implements trail projects in cooperation with partner organizations such as the USFS, the County of Siskiyou, the California Department of Fish and Game, Mountain Runners, BikeShasta and California Department of State Parks. MSTA volunteers organized the first public regional forum for trail inventories and needs assessments.
Yet MSTA’s contributions to our communities go well beyond trail development. We have organized public programs on global adventure travel and local history as well as classes in nature photography and map reading. Beyond pleasure hikes and trail workdays, other recreational activities we have organized include snowshoe hikes, bird watching outings, mountain bike rides, and canoe trips. For more than 10 years, volunteers from MSTA operated the fresh produce service for the thousands of people who participate in the July Fourth “Fun-Run” in Mt. Shasta.
The volunteers on the MSTA Board of Directors are highly motivated people who: meet regularly to review the status of on-going projects; consider new areas of needs; plan activities and programs; lay out web-based and public information communications; network with partner organizations; and implement fundraising plans.
Our constituents are enthusiastic outdoor people who take an active role in community planning and the management of the natural resources in our region. Public service in these two important issues has always been the primary interest of the friends of the Mount Shasta Trail Association.