Yreka indicators on to plan to develop rural recreation financial system


Yreka has been identified as a hub for the growth of the region’s leisure tourism economy and is serving as the heart of a plan by the Siskiyou County Economic Development Council to develop the rural economy.

The Siskiyou County seat was one of 25 communities across the country selected by the US Environmental Protection Agency to receive planning assistance through the Recreation Economy for Rural Communities program.

Participation in the program doesn’t bring actual funding to the city, but it does provide planning assistance, said Alia Roca-Lezra, program manager for strategic initiatives at the Siskiyou Economic Development Council.

With input from elected, business and other local leaders, the EDC developed the plan to generate investment and tourism interest in Yreka and the greater region. Yreka City Council unanimously approved the plan at its January 17 meeting.

The Community Action Plan, as the document is called, is non-binding and does not obligate the city to any benchmarks, requirements or costs. It is more of a goal and vision document that identifies specific areas that need attention in order to grow the outdoor leisure economy.

“This is a great roadmap for the city,” Councilor Paul McCoy said, adding, “This is not a binding document.”

“This document aims to be a living, landmark document for the city of Yreka and the community at large,” said Roca-Lezra.

The action plan identifies needs such as additional downtown dining options, improved streetscapes and other amenities – such as the idea of ​​a brewery or tavern – that could attract visitors to the city. It also points to the benefit of developing an overall parks and recreation master plan that could introduce greenhorn park improvement steps for various levels of new programs—like a zip line. These are policy areas that the city already wants to pursue and have been included in the Leisure Economics for Rural Communities programme.

“There’s so much here that’s really exciting, but there are some things that concern me,” said Colleen Baker, drawing attention to plans that could redesign traffic flow on Miner Street or the development of a park master plan. It’s not clear, Baker said, whether approval of the action plan would require the city to cede some of its planning and policy powers to an economic development organization.

Baker stressed that she supports the idea of ​​a parks master plan, “but will it be developed based on the needs of the city or based on the recommendations to support tourism? What’s the priority?” She wondered.

“If we were to create a master plan for parks, there would be tremendous community involvement,” said City Manager Jason Ledbetter Baker.

“We’re not letting anyone else drive the ship,” he added. “Ultimately, we will steer the ship on these action points because they are our action points.”

Yreka is the appropriate location for building a regional outdoor tourism plan, said councilor Duane Kegg, endorsing the RERC action plan.

“We’re the hub,” Kegg said. “Yreka is quite simply the center of Siskiyou County. It always has been.

“It’s pivotal and we have to work to make it that way,” he added.