Submitted by: Joe Wirth, Siskiyou Land Trust

When you have a dream and work hard and long enough, sometimes the occasion finally arrives when you can turn the dream into a reality. For those of us who are involved in trails in the Mt. Shasta area, Friday, September 11, 2015 was such a day. Two land easements were jointly signed by the Crystal Geyser Water Company and the Siskiyou Land Trust that allow a significant addition to trails close to Mt. Shasta.

The first easement relates to the Spring Hill Trail. It provides permanent authorization for the trail and in addition allows expansion of the trail around the top of the hill. The trail was originally created in 2010 through a temporary license agreement between Coca-Cola, the Siskiyou Land Trust and the Mt. Shasta Trail Association. Since its creation, the Spring Hill Trail has become one of the most popular trails in the area due to its proximity to downtown Mt. Shasta and its excellent views of the area. The easement will initially be held by the Siskiyou Land Trust and the trail will continue to be jointly managed by the Siskiyou Land Trust and the Mt. Shasta Trail Association. In the future, the easement may be transferred to Mt. Shasta Parks and Recreation District.

Future plans for the trail include adding a loop trail around the hill at the top, adding water bars on the existing trail to prevent erosion, adding a trail marker on a large rock in the traffic circle at the trailhead and making the traffic circle more attractive through a partnership between the Mt. Shasta Beautification Committee and the Mt. Shasta Trail Association.

The second easement, which will also be held by the Siskiyou Land Trust, relates to creating a portion of the long dreamed of multiuse paved trail connecting the City Park to downtown Mt. Shasta. The easement permanently allows trail construction across two portions of the Crystal Geyser property adjacent to the southern border of the City Park and, in addition, provides an option for a sewer line connection between the City Park sewer system and the Mt. Shasta sewer line along Kingston Road. This potentially resolves a long standing issue of the City Park relying on an outdated and inadequate septic system.

The idea for the trail came from Tom Hesseldenz as have ideas for many of the trails in this area. The easement is the culmination of work done over the past five years by a consortium of Mt. Shasta organizations which now include: Mt. Shasta Rotary Club, Siskiyou Land Trust, Mt. Shasta Trail Association, Mountain Runners, Mountain Wheelers, Mt. Shasta Recreation and Parks District and Active Transportation Committee of the Mt. Shasta City Council.

The plan for later this year is to create an interim unpaved loop trail that will cross the Crystal Geyser property plus an adjacent land parcel, acquired by the Siskiyou Land Trust over a year ago, and connect to Kingston Road. We will be looking for volunteers to work on this trail over the next two months.

Longer term plans include seeking authorization from several property owners to extend the trail from the Kingston Road area to Alma Street, paving the entire route and working with the City of Mt. Shasta to connect with the Lake Siskiyou Trail. We obviously will need considerable grant funds to make all of this happen, but we now have a real beginning. It’s amazing what a small mountain town can accomplish when we all pull in the same direction!

Thanks are due to all who have worked long and hard to get to where we are today and who will work equally long and hard to get to the finish line. Special thanks are due to the Crystal Geyser Water Company in their role as a true community partner for understanding the benefits these easements will provide to our area for years to come and helping to make our dreams a reality.