On November 15th, Forest Service staff and members of the Shasta County Resource Advisory Committee (Shasta RAC) toured a section of the proposed Great Shasta Rail Trail from Burney to Cayton in Shasta County. Members of the Great Shasta Rail Trail Association (GSRTA) Board of Directors hosted the tour and discussed the status of their efforts to develop an 80-mile rail-trail between Burney and McCloud. Support from the Shasta RAC is being used to convert this railroad property into a public recreation trail, and the tour gave members of the committee the chance to visit the property and get a first-hand view of the opportunities and challenges that this exciting project presents.
“The Shasta County Resource Advisory Committee and Shasta-Trinity Forest Service staff have been very supportive of this trail project. We wanted them to experience the trail and share our excitement about this wonderful project,” said April Gray, President of the GSRTA, a nonprofit organization that will own and manage the trail. “The trail will be developed over several years with the support of many partners, grantors, and thousands of volunteer hours,” added Gray. “There are seven bridges to restore and several culverts to replace before all 80 miles can be opened for public use.”
With financial support from the Shasta RAC, the Federal Highways Administration, and the Siskiyou County Resource Advisory Committee, the GSRTA is supervising the completion of engineering inspections, reports, and restoration plans for all seven bridges and the culverts. These studies will be completed by December 2015, and will support the GSRTA’s efforts to raise funds for the restoration work. These recent grants join several previous substantial grants from local foundations and state agencies, as well as many individual donations and volunteer hours from the community, all contributing to the creation of the Great Shasta Rail Trail. Plans include opening about thirty-five miles of the trail in 2015 and with more miles added each year as bridges are restored. “We are certain that this trail will become a major recreational attraction in northeastern California – an economic asset for Burney and McCloud,” concluded Gray.