The Shasta McCloud Management Unit of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, in partnership with the Mt. Shasta Trail Association (MTSA), has announced it will begin the construction of 44.8 miles of new trails in the Mount Shasta area in 2020. The project, as part of the Gateway Phase 2 Trail Project, will encompass over 5,000 acres joining the existing 11.4 mile Gateway trail system off the Everitt Memorial Highway and Ski Park Highway
Over the last two years, the Forest Service has worked closely with the MSTA, who funded the NEPA analysis and completed the technical resource reports and Environmental Assessment following Forest Service guidelines.
“This project was truly a community-led effort with support from all user groups, local businesses, and residents. It is an exciting time for our area with such an emphasis on recreation and tourism. This project compliments the designation of the city of Mt. Shasta as a Pacific Crest Trail Town and the larger concept of the Mount Shasta Trail Partners,” explained Shasta McCloud Management Unit District Ranger, Carolyn Napper. “This project provides the Forest Service an opportunity to work with the City of Mt. Shasta and surrounding areas to diversify the economic base of the community and promote partnerships with user groups to assist in the operation, maintenance, and developed of recreation sites and facilities.”
The Gateway Phase 2 Environmental Assessment has been finalized which will allow for the following:
• Construct 44.8 miles of new multi-use, non-motorized trails and 1.7 miles of trail that would be designed and permitted to equestrians and hikers only.
• Construct two new day-use trailheads at Ten Gallon Plantation and the south side of the Everitt Memorial Highway across from the McBride Springs Campground.
• Develop two existing recreation facilities as day-use trailheads at the John Everitt Vista Point and the Nordic Center on the Ski Park Highway.
• Expand the McBride Springs Campground by adding a loop for 8-12 campsites.
• Decommission unauthorized, unsustainable, user-created trails and trail segments in the project area.
The proposed trail expansion has been designed to address multiple non-motorized trail users – hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers, and equestrian riders and incorporates consideration for trail-user objectives and desired experiences. This resulted in a “zoned” approach to the trail network that includes:
1. Community Zone – close to town and easy to access, designed to build upon the existing Gateway network and creates more opportunities to quickly get out and enjoy the forest.
2. Learning Zone (Discovery Center) – trailhead will be located at the Nordic Center, a short connection to the Mt. Shasta Ski Park, and mellow, rolling terrain with fantastic views all around. The Learning Zone will be ideal for those new to trails and will provide a series of loops that allow users to begin easy and add mileage if they feel up to the challenge.
3. Big Mountain Zone – designed to provide a variety of trail experiences, but with an emphasis on mountain biking, including a portion where the “preferred-use” would be mountain biking. The Vista Point trailhead
will function as a drop point in which users can descent into an assortment of routes ranging from intermediate level flow trails, to advanced downhill directionally designed trails, and connect with the Community or Learning Zones.
With the grant funding the Mt. Shasta Trail Association received from the McConnell Foundation in 2017, trail building will begin in the spring of 2020 in the Big Mountain Zone. Construction will be a phased approach and once trail segments have been integrated into the National Forest System Trails system they will be open for public use. Both the Forest Service and the MSTA is continuing to apply for additional grant funding (Prop 68 and Recreation Trails Program) to support the construction and maintenance into the future.
“The completion of the environmental analysis and the signing of a decision for the Gateway Phase 2 Trail Project is a monumental event for the Trail Association and all of our donors and partners — especially the support we got from the local Forest Service employees,” stated Mt Shasta Trail Association board member, John Schuyler. “We see national forest lands as key to our goal of making southern Siskiyou County a destination for sustainable trail-based recreation, and this project demonstrates how we and the Forest Service can work together and accomplish common goals.”
For more information about this project visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=53089.