The Core Team of the Great Shasta Rail Trail (GSRT) announces the formation of the Great Shasta Rail Trail Association (GSRTA). The Board of Directors of the new non-profit organization met Friday, June 28, 2013, elected officers, appointed committees, began arrangements for financial management, and set the date for the next meeting.
“This is an important next step toward the development of the trail,” said Board President Jerry Harmon, a Mount Shasta resident. “The GSRTA will own the property and manage the trail – that’s a big job that we have to be ready for.” Board member Ben Miles (Executive Director of the Shasta Land Trust) added “… there will be continuity, as four members of the new Board are also Core Team members.”
The Great Shasta Rail Trail is proposed for the bed of the rail line that once connected the towns of McCloud and Burney. The Shasta Land Trust (on behalf of the Core Team) is in contract to purchase the property from 4 Rails (owned by Jeff Forbis). It is expected that the purchase will be completed this fall. Shasta Land Trust will then deed the property to the Great Shasta Rail Trail Association.
Board Treasurer Henry Patterson (a Burney optometrist) said that he is excited to be part of this important organization, and quoted the official purpose, “… to own and promote the public use and enjoyments of a public trail system, and to promote quality local and regional planning and environmentally sensitive land use within Shasta County and Siskiyou County.” He added, “As a business person, I’m aware of the economic development potential; as the father of three, I’m focused on the recreational and environmental protection aspects.”
The multi-use GSRT will benefit Siskiyou and Shasta counties and the adjoining rural communities by stimulating tourism and recreation-related commerce, increasing neighboring property values, and attracting new businesses. Increased opportunities for outdoor exercise and recreation provided by the GSRT will improve the quality of life and offer health benefits for residents and tourists. The GSRT will also connect with the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, recreational facilities on adjacent national forest land, and will link to the trails around the McCloud River Falls and McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park.
This railroad right-of-way spans over 80-miles through the forested mountains of northern California and is a significant property in the history of McCloud, Burney, and the surrounding area. The McCloud River Lumber Company owned the original railroad (begun in McCloud in 1897), as well as the original ‘company town’ of McCloud. When the rails reached Burney in the early 1950’s, the town celebrated with a golden spike ceremony.
GSRTA Board members are: Jerry Harmon, President; Tina Pelso, Vice-President; Mike White, Secretary; Henry Patterson, Treasurer; Ben Miles; and April Gray.
Note: Core Team members are Ben Miles, Shasta Land Trust; Jerry Harmon, McCloud Trail Association; Tina Peluso, Fall River Mills Chamber of Commerce; Elizabeth Norton, Volcanic Legacy Community Partnership, and April Gray, McCloud Local First Network.