Last year was a very strong year for the Mount Shasta Trail Association, with a gain over the year in our unrestricted funds balance, even with many substantial projects undertaken. Restricted funds delegated to specific projects also increased. Significant advances were made on the Gateway Trail Reroute, the extension of the Gateway Trail, the Mossbrae Falls Trail, and the reroute of the Heart Lake Trail. Contributions from individuals and businesses totaled more than $63,000, and grants and dedicated funds yielded another $215,000. Out of pocket we spent on programs $231,000, and only $21,000 on administration.
For next year our project expenses will increase substantially as we ramp up the expansion of the Gateway Trail network. Mossbrae Falls alone may require more than all of last year’s program expenses. Grant awards we have received will allow us to accomplish so much! Our special thanks to the McConnell Foundation, the Friesen Foundation, the Kyle Neath Charitable Fund, the Nancy Driscoll Foundation, the National Forest Foundation, not to mention the State of California, Natural Resources Prop 68 Grant for $1,115,000 for Gateway.
Of course, with your ongoing support the sky’s the limit, or least 14,692’, or 14,179’, or 4,321.8m, or 4317m. Well, you get the idea—we’re going places. Come along!
About a month ago, we decided to order a trailer to hold and transport tools for trail work. Shortly thereafter, Brian Sindt offered to donate his near-new trailer to the cause. Brian is a recently retired Senior Program Officer for the McConnell Foundation. His trail crew cut the Foundation Trail on Gateway several years ago, free of charge. He has been instrumental in securing significant funds for Gateway II. He has helped create many of the hiking/biking trails in Redding over the years, and drives up here to Mt. Shasta to volunteer on some of our work days. The trailer will fit our needs beautifully and will save MSTA about $4600.
On Tuesday, Jan 25th Siskiyou County will be closing the gates on Everitt Memorial Highway (near McBride Springs CG) and Castle Lake by NOON. Due to the predicted snow accumulation and availability of the County to plow the roads in a timely manner, this is a needed safety measure.
Thank you very much! Hope everyone continues to be safe and enjoy watching the needed snow from the comfort of home 😊
Becky Cooper Recreation OfficerForest Service Shasta-Trinity National ForestShasta McCloud Management Unitp: firstname.lastname@example.org West Alma Street Mt. Shasta, CA 96067 www.fs.fed.us Caring for the land and serving people
A dozen volunteers showed up yesterday to cover burn piles on the Gateway reroute. It was a beautiful day and we were done in about 90 minutes, including safety talk, hike in, and hike out. There were a number of new volunteers and lots of new acquaintances were made. The new trail will have some fantastic vistas when completed.
We are rerouting a steep section of the Gateway Trail and creating some fantastic new viewpoints. The brush-clearing has left numerous slash piles that need to be burned. But they have to be covered with plastic before this next storm, so we’ll be doing that work this Saturday, January 23, at noon. Meet at the Gateway Trailhead on Everitt Memorial Highway (1/2 mile north of the high school) and we’ll walk in (or, we might drive partway in along the gravel road). We’ll need a couple people to bring scissors to cut the plastic. Also bring water and snacks. I’ll provide loppers and hand saws, which may be the only tools we’ll need. Hope to see you then.
A previous post reported that Tom Ravizza (one of MSTA’s most ardent supporters) had spent hundreds of hours building detailed, themed birdhouses and then donated them to MSTA. Kendra Bainbridge, owner of Raven Tree wild bird and nature shop, then graciously offered to sell them in her store and donate the profits. MSTA has now received checks totaling $2200 from this effort! What a haul!
Thank you, Tom and Kendra, for your time and generosity. We may use the funds to help buy a new tool trailer for the trail crew.
I’m pretty sure the attached photo is of the schoolhouse model (too pretty to put in a tree outdoors).
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.
Tom Ravizza is a very busy guy who always needs a project in order to prevent spontaneous self-combustion. He has created about 20 custom birdhouses while locked down and has donated them to Raven Tree wild bird and nature shop. They are on sale now and most of the profits will benefit the Mount Shasta Trail Association. Please consider dropping by Raven Tree to see these intricate and beautiful birdhouses which will make excellent holiday gifts. Raven Tree is in the Ray’s shopping center in Mt. Shasta and is owned by Kendra Bainbridge. Kendra and Tom are tireless supporters of MSTA. I’m getting my birdhouse today! Really…no kidding…not lying.
Sixteen volunteers hiked up from Castle Lake this morning to smooth out the roughed-in new trail segments leading to Heart Lake. We made tremendous progress and the switchbacks look beautiful. The views are spectacular. The new segments are already hikeable (I think that’s a word), although you have to follow the pink pin flags up near the top. People who frequent this area are going to love the changes, I think.
Many thanks to the volunteers who worked so hard today. We’ll continue to improve this trail while the weather lasts.