The 260 foot arched steel bridge at the west end of Lake Siskiyou officially opened Oct.19 with a ribbon cutting ceremony that marked the final connection in the trail that now circumvents the entire lake.

The 260 foot arched steel bridge at the west end of Lake Siskiyou officially opened Oct.19 with a ribbon cutting ceremony that marked the final connection in the trail that now circumvents the entire lake.

Conceived over a decade ago, the $2.8 million bridge provides the final link for walkers and bicyclists to enjoy a tour around the lake without having to use North Shore or WA Barr Roads. The western end of the lake at the Delta can be crossed using seasonal planking held in place by rock filled baskets.

The cutting of the ribbon with a giant set of scissors was done by Siskiyou County supervisors Marcia Armstrong, Michael Kobseff, Ed Valenzuela, Jim Cook and Grace Bennett. Also present at the ribbon were former supervisor LaVada Erickson and McConnell Foundation representative Shannon Phillips.

Among the speakers was Siskiyou County general services manager Randy Akana, who noted the fine workmanship and said the bridge was “100 percent built by Americans.”

County administrative officer Brian McDermott thanked a host of people involved in the bridge’s design, construction and funding.

McDermott singled out the Mount Shasta Trail Association and landscape architect Tom Hesseldenz for their volunteer efforts over the years, including thousands of hours of hand labor on the trail, the McConnell Foundation for their $600,000 donation and Buzz Knight, owner of Timberworks construction, the local company that built the bridge.

“A lot of local talent was put to good use,” Knight said in response to McDermott’s praise.

Erickson looked back on when the trail and the bridge were first conceived and remembered that the Trail Association, “Never took their foot out of my back, even though I thought they were crazy.”
“Now look what you’ve done,” Erickson said with a smile.

After the red ribbon fell to the bridge floor, approximately 100 attendees walked the bridge, enjoying the views of the lake and Mount Shasta.

In addition to the McConnell Foundation grant, bridge funding included $1,012,000 from the Transportation Enhancement Activities Program and $1.2 million from American Recovery Reinvestment Act of 2009, president Obama’s stimulus program.

McDermott noted that the trail had received 13 smaller grants over the years, including donations from the Mount Shasta based Mountain Runners.