The Great Shasta Rail Trail is officially open after a ribbon cutting ceremony in downtown McCloud Saturday afternoon, September 26.

The grand opening celebration of the first 37 miles of the 80 mile recreation trail connecting McCloud to Burney was attended by a large crowd of supporters.

“We were looking for a building with an ‘Open’ sign on it that we could hang this banner over,” said GSRT Association Board Member Bob Polkinghorn as he stood before the Heritage Junction Museum where the ribbon cutting took place. “Today the Great Shasta Rail Trail is officially open for business!

“I suppose it’s true that one never knows when history is being made. But, I have a strong feeling that is exactly what is happening here today – this moment – and we’re all part of it,” Polkinghorn said in his speech.

GSRTA Board President April Gray thanked everyone who contributed time, energy, emotional and financial support to the project. “This has been a collaboration among multiple organizations requiring thousands of hours of volunteer time,” she said in her speech.

The effort was symbolized in the ribbon cutting, with both Gray and Shasta Land Trust Executive Director Anne Murphy partnering to wield the oversized pair of scissors.

Gray said the grand opening event was the culmination of several years of work to acquire the land for the trail.

A letter from American Trails Executive Director Pam Gluck states, “The Great Shasta Rail Trail represents what can come to fruition when motivated individuals come together to work for a common goal. Residents and visitors from around the world will be able to enjoy this trail for years to come – leaving them in awe and wonder of the North State and beckon them back for more.”

Following the speeches and ribbon cutting ceremony, guests were invited to a reception with beer, wine and a dessert buffet on the top floor of the McCloud Mercantile.

The grand opening of the remainder of the trail was celebrated at the trailhead in Burney the following day.

For more information about the GSRT can be found in the Internet at www.greatshastarailtrail.org/ and www.facebook.com/GreatShastaRailTrail?fref=ts.