If you were a long-distance Pacific Crest Trail hiker, what would entice you to leave the trail long enough to stay awhile in Mt. Shasta? The answer most often given: transportation into town.
These and other questions are what five teams of volunteers and organization members of the Mt. Shasta Trail Town partnership have been working on since last fall when the Pacific Crest Trail Association designated Mt. Shasta as its first Trail Town.
The collaboration, according to a press release, “is focusing on ways to promote and improve services for trail users and positively affect economic vitality in the region.
“As a result, a goal long held by many – to provide transportation to PCT hikers to and from the PCT in Castle Crags State Park to Dunsmuir and Mt. Shasta – has been fulfilled.
“Thanks to the commitment of our county’s Local Transportation Commissioners and the hard work of Transportation Services Department staff, the STAGE bus route has been extended on a trial basis to pick up and drop off hikers at Ammirati’s Market in Castella.”
The schedule coincides with heaviest PCT use in the Mt. Shasta region, from July 16 through Aug. 24 as follows:
Departing from Castella:
10:40 a.m. – Monday, Wednesday, Friday only.
6:40 p.m. – Monday through Friday.
Southbound, Monday through Friday
Departing from Mt. Shasta Shopping Center – 6 p.m.
Departing from the parking lot just north of Dunsmuir City Hall – 6:22 p.m.
Castle Crags State Park Ranger Todd Barto states in the release: “I see multiple parties of PCT hikers throughout each day at the Soda Creek/I-5 onramp hitchhiking for rides into town during the peak season. Others call for a shuttle service that costs $30 or more (one-way). ‘Trail angels’ are another source that hikers call upon for rides into town.”
Barto said all of those sources of transportation “are random at best and some are cause for safety concerns. Thanks to local elected officials and county staff, this STAGE bus extension will provide a vital service to Pacific Crest Trail hikers (and others) that lack consistent and reliable transportation.”
Trail angels are those who enjoy giving rides to PCT hikers to and/or from the trail to town. Those interested in offering this service are invited to sign up at the Mt. Shasta Visitor Center on Pine Street.
The Mt. Shasta Trail Town Celebration is being sponsored by six partnering organizations: Pacific Crest Trail Association, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, City of Mt. Shasta, Mt. Shasta Chamber of Commerce, Mt. Shasta Trail Association and Siskiyou County.
In the coming years, they say they will be pursuing ways to strengthen and expand the partnership to: 1) provide better services and experiences to PCT and other trail users; and 2) promote awareness of the numerous trail and outdoor recreation opportunities our region offers as a cornerstone of our local economy.
Local organizations and businesses are also supporting the event with donations. The Mt. Shasta Trail Town partnerships asks that you thank their members and employees, and support their businesses, when you can. They include: Mt. Shasta Rotary Club, Dignity Health, Cross Petroleum, Tri Counties Bank, Crystal Geyser, and Best Western Tree House.