A group working to improve recreational and hiking opportunities in Siskiyou County has received a $470,000 grant from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.
The money will be used to plan for “recreational access” in southern Siskiyou County, said Justi Hansen, executive director of the Siskiyou Outdoor Recreation Alliance.
Part of the group’s goal is to plan a multipurpose trail system that would connect Weed, Mount Shasta, Dunsmuir and McCloud, she said.
“The idea is that residents or visitors can come to this area and reach all four communities without getting in their car,” Hansen said. Getting people to hike, walk, and horseback ride promotes healthy communities, she said, “so people get active and get outside, get some sun, and get some exercise.”
Hansen said the money will also be used for recovery planning in general to determine what other recovery projects residents of southern Siskiyou County would like to see.
Over the next few years, Hansen and her organization will also determine whether the trail system is profitable. Gaining access to build trails across public land, private forest land and other private property will be a challenge, she said.
The Recreation Alliance grant is just one of several grants awarded by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy during a Dec. 9 board meeting. The state agency awarded nearly $10 million in grants for recreation, tourism, and land conservation programs.
Before the Conservancy Grant, the recreation alliance was funded largely through fundraising events, proceeds from the Mt. Shasta Nordic Center, and donations, Hansen said. The conservation grant was important in getting planning underway for the Trails project and other recreation programs, Hansen said.
“It’s a significant part of the change for a meaningful project, for definitely a meaningful project. We’re looking forward to it,” she said.
Laurel Harkness, a past President of the Recovery Alliance, said Siskiyou County was not eligible for the Conservancy’s grant last year.
But state senator Brian Dahle introduced a bill that was approved by the legislature and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, challenging Siskiyou, Shasta and Trinity counties for agency grants.