The McConnell Foundation Boosts Trail Building Effort

Gateway Trail

The McConnell Foundation recently awarded $420,000 to the Mount Shasta Trail Association to help develop a multi-use trail system between the city of Mount Shasta and Mount Shasta Ski Park on Forest Service lands.

“The Foundation believes that multi-use trail systems greatly enhance communities, providing both economic and health benefits,” said Bob Blankenship, The McConnell Foundation’s chairman of the board.

The project — known as Gateway Phase Two — is expected to launch in 2018 with construction planned over four years, and includes developing a 38.5-mile network of professionally designed and sustainable non-motorized, multi-use trails on Shasta-Trinity National Forest lands.

The project expands the existing Gateway Trail Network and provides new links to key attractions and scenic access points that include The Mount Shasta Ski Park, McBride Springs Campground, and Snowman’s Hill Recreation Area on Highway 89. The trails will be constructed primarily within the Forest Service’s McBride Plantation and designed to protect sensitive environmental and cultural areas.

“We are blessed to live in a community where outdoor recreation plays such a pivotal role in quality of life, health, and local business,” said Andrew Baugh, president of BikeShasta.org. “We are also fortunate that the Shasta-Trinity National Forest recognizes the importance of well-planned access to recreation on federal lands. The Forest Service deserves real credit for engaging our community and providing the leadership needed to make this happen.”

Where feasible existing user-created trails will be used, improving them to Forest Service standards; while other user-created trails will be decommissioned to protect sensitive areas.

“The Shasta McCloud Management Unit strives to provide recreation opportunities and experiences to capture the diversity of recreation use that occurs within this area,” said Becky Cooper, recreation officer for the Shasta McCloud Management Unit, Shasta-Trinity National Forest. “The partnerships that have been established throughout this planning effort have become essential with providing sustainable non-motorized trail opportunities to meet recreation enthusiasts’ needs and connect those recreation benefits to the local communities. The collaboration taking place to make this campaign a reality has been a long time coming and it’s exciting to see it approaching fruition over the next few years.”

This effort builds on a larger, regional collaboration called the 100 Miles of Trail Campaign launched in 2013 by the Mount Shasta Trail Association and BikeShasta.org. The 100 Miles of Trail Campaign aims to transform south Siskiyou County into a world-class cycling destination with non-motorized trail opportunities for all skill levels and user groups. Currently, the Mt. Shasta Trail Association is partnering with the Forest Service to complete the environmental analysis, which is needed for planning purposes prior to actual construction of the trails.

“John Muir would be proud to see the members of the Mount Shasta community — the Forest Service, BikeShasta, Siskiyou Land Trust, Mt. Shasta Rec and Parks Department and others — meld together to support the many trail projects providing exceptional outdoor recreation,” said Barry Joy, president of the Mount Shasta Trail Association. “McConnell Foundation, an early member of this community, comes through big time here. We are grateful.”

The community can support this project by contributing to the 100 Miles of Trail Campaign through the Shasta Regional Community Foundation at: http://www.shastarcf.org/funds/100-miles-of-trails-association-special-project-fund or visit the Mount Shasta Trail Association website: http://mountshastatrailassociation.org/.

-from press release
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